E.ON and German startup greenXmoney will support a crowdfunding platform that brings together renewable energy producers and private investors.
Using the platform, investors can support German solar and wind power facilities independently of banks.
The platform works by allowing owners of solar and wind power facilities to register their units on the greenXmoney platform. Prospective investors are then able to compare the solar and wind power systems based on their location, size, output and returns. Based on these factors, investors can decide which low-price energy producer they want to invest in.
The concept draws on the well-established practice applied in factoring agreements, which greenXmoney calls "watt" securities. Equipment owners sell reliably anticipated compensation from the Renewable Energy Act (EEG). Energy investors acquire this compensation and receive in return a reliable appreciation. Investors receive biannual payments from their investments.
The business model offers a win-win for the investor and the equipment operator, according to E.ON. The revenue from electricity generation provides the "watt" security purchaser's investment with real proceeds without the investor having to directly participate in the facility. The equipment operator receives the funds while retaining ownership of the equipment and can also keep profits made from above-expected output.
Other business models involve the participation in a facility by an investor, either directly or through subordinated loans, thereby increasing the risk potential.
A once-off payment of €500 gives the investor a portion of the future electricity revenues generated by the solar or wind power system they opt for. The process is very flexible in that the investment can be re-sold at any given time.
"Our partnership with greenXmoney constitutes another important building block of our digital solutions business. With our battery and storage systems, E.ON SolarCloud as well as Google Sunroof, we are offering innovative products that provide our customers greater independence.
"With greenXmoney, our customers who don't have any roof space suitable for generating power on their own now also have an opportunity to profit from renewable sources of energy," states Karsten Wildberger, member of the E.ON board.
"This makes it easier than ever for anybody to track how their investment is paying off and how much clean energy 'their' facilities are generating," explain Torsten Blumenthal and Murat Sahin, Managing Ddirectors at greenXmoney. "It's not only good for the environment; it’s good for the wallet as well."
Crowdfunding is a growing trend across Europe and the UK. In 2015, an estimated €4.2bn was raised through crowdfunding platforms in Europe and it is being used increasingly to finance the growth of renewable energy. Abundance, a UK company specialising in peer-to-peer investments that create social and environmental benefits, raised £1.7m from 874 investors in 2015 to purchase and install over 400 solar panels on social housing in Berwickshire, Scotland.