Image: Triodos Bank.

Triodos Bank has launched an £850,000 renewable energy bond offer on its crowdfunding platform to finance the operational 5MW Ferry Farm solar site.

The farm – which was built in 2016 – is located in Selsey near Chichester and consists of 18,700 solar panels. It was initially constructed as a commercial enterprise but was brought into full community ownership in March 2020 by Ferry Farm Community Benefit Society, facilitated by a loan from Leapfrog Bridge Finance. The majority of this loan was then refinanced in September 2020 after securing a long-term loan from Triodos.

This new bout of crowdfunding will pay the remainder of the initial loan and secure the long-term finance arrangements for the farm, Triodos said.

The bond offer has access to the Triodos Community Renewable Underwriting Facility, which involves the bank providing a co-investment and underwriting facility by buying up to 425,000 bonds if required. The bond itself has a term of 14.5 years paying 4% gross interest annually.

Over its lifetime, Ferry Farm is expected to generate up to £2 million of community funding and has given £135,000 to the local community since 2017.

It is one of four solar farms managed by Community for Renewables to give funds to its local community to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, with the four collectively raising £100,000 in April. Ferry Farm allocated £40,000 alone, helping to supply laptops to schools to enable remote learning, funding a local foodbank and establishing a hardship fund.

“As well as its importance in renewable energy generation, which contributes to the UK’s transition to green energy, the project has been a lifeline to its community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jake Burnyeat, director of Community for Renewables, said.

“It keeps delivering positive impact time and time again and the crowdfunding capital will bolster its financial resilience as well as its ability to support the community even further.”