New green cashback scheme seeks to buy up existing FiT installations

Investment platform Abundance has continued its activities in the share offer market with the release of a new green cashback scheme targeting existing rooftop residential solar installations.

Working in partnership with new enterprise ShareSolar, Abundance has launched up to £10 million in green cashback payments to UK households who installed solar panels before April 2012.

The offer provides early adopters with a lump sum payment for their future Feed-in Tariff (FiT) – averaging around £11,000 – while allowing them to retain solar electricity generated free of charge, ownership of the panels and benefit from free ongoing maintenance of the equipment for the remaining FiT period.

For investors, Abundance says the project offers a 6.5% rate of return while supporting the continuing generation of renewable energy.

Bruce Davis, co-founder and joint managing director of Abundance, said: “This is a genuinely innovative way of creating a virtuous circle from domestic solar investment. The householders benefit from getting a cash sum upfront which they can then invest in battery technology, energy efficiency or maybe an electric car, while still enjoying all the benefits of free green electricity and keeping ownership of their panels.

“Investors benefit from a stable long-term income at a rate better than any deposit account pays. It gives both sides a great deal – a real win-win arrangement – while helping to give positive outcomes to all those supporting solar energy.”

The solar buy-back market has grown considerably since the reductions in FiT payments were implemented earlier this year. Systems installed prior to the original tariff degression in 2012 now represent substantially more value than new systems as they have higher FiTs secured for up to 20 years from the date of completion – with current FiT levels now almost ten times less than previously offered.

Abundance says its partnership with ShareSolar is intended to widen the public’s involvement in solar energy by making it possible for newer supporters to share the benefits of existing infrastructure by investing in it to release money to the households who own the panels.

Lawrence Buckley, director for ShareSolar, added: “Across the UK there are thousands of home owners who stumped up the cash to buy into the solar revolution. ShareSolar lets those pioneers get an early cashback on their investment in a greener future.”

Andrew McLauclan, technical director for Infrata, recently predicted that the demand for secondary market domestic roof top assets will continue as existing owners realise the demand from both institutional and private investors. To read more from McLauclan, click here.

This first tranche of the new programme seeks to raise between £400,000 and £1.3 million and will be open to the more than 300,000 households across the UK that had solar panels installed before the FIT was reduced in April 2012.  

The launch marks the latest move by Abundance in the solar investment market, having recently launched share offers with Anesco to fund the company’s projects and Swindon Borough Council for the first ‘council solar bond’.