The very first conference dedicated solely to crowdfunding of renewable energy was held in London the 30th October. Inspirational presentations, success stories, future visions, passionate participants and one big common goal: the event gathered over 150 participants who all see crowdfunding as a means of advancing towards cleaner energy production. Jukka from Joukon Voima was also present in the event organized by Solarplaza to get hold of what’s happening among the pioneers of the field. These are his takeaway topics:
Crowdfunding renewables is a movement
Switching a light bulb with another is not enough. The ownership of energy markets needs to be rethought as well. Mosaic CEO Dan Rosen spent a good while on the ideology behind crowdfunding renewables: it brings democracy to energy markets. In addition, the more stakeholders you have, the further and faster the thought of tackling the climate change with renewable energy spreads. The managing director of Trillionfund Julia Groves said that she would rather involve more people than raise more money: ”How can we talk about crowdfunding if we don’t involve big crowds?”
Crowdfunding is a brilliant tool to popularize renewable energy and make the masses realize that it isn’t just ‘green crap’ as Groves put it. By involving crowds, renewable energy will become the mainstream instead of an alternative solution. Windcentrale’s Harm Reitsma was in heavy doubt about the impact that governmental steering or the acts of utility companies will make in the endeavors towards cleaner energy production. The reformation of energy industry will begin from bottom up.
Crowdfunding needs regulation – but not too much
The heavy regulatory demands from financial authorities were constantly under complaints, but still there was great consensus that certain rules of the game are needed. The forefront runners establishing the industry are the ones who are shaping and designing its future. The pioneer role brings responsibilities, too. To secure the credibility and a steady future for the industry, there is no room for foolishness in the beginning. The rules must come from inside, which makes peer-monitoring and cooperation essential.
Crowdfunding is not merely online investing, but a way to involve people
It is particularly significant here, that those who crowdfund indeed want to be involved. They want to contribute to something that is not there yet, they want to play part in the success stories. Instead of investing to a faceless green bond, crowdfunders decide to become a player in a project that they value.
Bruce Davis, the founder of a UK based platform Abundance said that families are doing Sunday drives to construction yards of crowdfunded energy plants. That surely doesn’t happen in the projects that are funded by regular green bonds.
It’s much more fun to buy a pair of boots than invest 200£ to a pension fund
Funding renewable energy is fascinating to many, a characteristic that must be properly utilized. Compared to green bonds offered by traditional finance institutions, crowdfunding renewables is far more exciting. To underline this, Julia Groves compared buying boots and investing to a pension fund. Make sure to provide your crowdfunders opportunities to show their newly bought boots to others, engage with other lovers of boots in various ways, express their passion in them…whatever they want.
We are in the beginning of something truly magnificent. I can feel it.