The Co-operative Bank has announced a dramatic increase in the number of renewable energy products it has funded. Throughout 2012, increased demand from developers looking to invest in renewable solutions drove to an almost tripling of lending.

The bank lent over £230 million to a total of 17 renewable energy products in the first half of 2012 and is expected to continue that level of lending through to the end of the year.

James Sutcliffe, Renewable Energy Manager at The Co-operative Bank, said: “Undoubtedly, demand for renewable projects – especially wind energy schemes – is at an all time high.

“We have seen the UK public begin to embrace renewable energy as a viable alternative to traditional energy sources and nowadays it is not only companies who are investing in renewable energy projects.”

“The Co-operative Bank continues to fund a large number of community renewable energy schemes, where profits are invested back into the communities that own them, in some cases with projected incomes of millions of pounds over 20 years. At a time when many communities are fighting for survival from the wider economic challenges, small to medium renewable energy schemes provide them an opportunity for communities to become sustainable, creating local jobs and diversifying local economies.”

The increased renewable lending forms part of the Co-operative Group’s Ethical Plan, which committed in 2007 to lending £1 billion to renewable energy initiatives by 2020.

The Co-operative group is also keen to express support for the budding community-owned renewable market. As a result the bank is actively campaigning to dramatically increase the number of communities controlling and benefiting from their own renewable energy projects. 

Companies interested in finding out more about setting up community-funded renewable schemes should attend the ‘Making a community PV scheme work – the bricks and mortar of what you need to know’ Seminar at this year’s Solar Power UK 2012.