If you have ever wondered how you can get involved with supporting and financing renewable energy projects, Trillion Fund could be the answer to your question. Trillion Fund is an organisation that offers a crowd financing platform specific to renewable energy projects. The creators of the platform have shared goals of helping people to achieve something helpful with their money while also creating cleaner energy for use. The company was named as “Trillion Fund” because the organisation believes that a trillion represents the level of funding that is required to stop climate change and reverse it from its current highly damaging levels. One important way to achieve this is by leveraging renewable energies. As American film director Josh Fox famously said of energy sources:
“I think that the world is in the middle of a huge transition that we have to make to renewable energy. We have to transition away from fossil fuels very, very quickly.”
The time to move to renewable energy sources is now, and Trillion Fund is going a long way to facilitating this much needed change through its innovative platform. The platform offers people a variety of different ways in which to offer backing to projects. These include peer to project loans, bonds, debentures or shares in funds or cooperatives. When you put your money towards a particular project, your money goes to that project and to nowhere else.
Trillion Fund operates through an activity called “peer to peer lending” which has otherwise been named as “loan-based crowdfunding”. The benefit of working through a platform like Trillion Fund is that fees are reduced for the person or organisation borrowing the money. The money is lent by regular people that have a little extra cash to invest, and Trillion Fund explains that the buyers are individuals or businesses that need that little extra cash for some reason. In particular, Trillion Fund focuses on “peer to project loans” which are when money is lent to a renewable energy company through its platform. These types of projects are argued by Trillion Fund to be:
“An interesting source of steady interest because their revenue comes from electricity generation.”
Trillion Fund currently features a handful of projects. There is a biomass project, a hydro project, three wind projects and seven mixed energy projects. Interestingly the largest category of projects at the current time is solar. One of these projects aims to mount solar PV on roofs of 19 schools in England. For this there is a minimum investment of just £5. Another allows participants to invest in solar for hospitals and to achieve 3% return on their investment, though the minimum investment for this project is £250. A third aims to install two 249kW solar sites in Kent, again requiring a minimum investment of just £5. Already funded include solar projects in Nottingham, South Wales and Brighton. Other fascinating projects include an endeavour to install a wood fuel heating system at a Leicestershire school, a project called Whalley Hydro that plans to develop a 100kW micro hydroelectric plant on the south side of the River Calder. This interesting example of a community thriving to find alternative energy sources was covered by BBC and the video can be watched here:
Either types of projects are a wind project to support an already built single wind turbine in Cornwall and a variety of mixed energy projects. One, Guinness EIS 5 is a fund that invests in solar, wind, hydro, anaerobic digestion and biomass boilers. With any kind of investment there are risks and Trillion Fund is very transparent about this, providing clear information to potential investors about the problems that they could potentially face. However, they do also provide guidance on the types of project to invest in to mitigate that risk at least to some degree. Trillion Fund recommends not investing more than you can afford to lose. Another challenge outlined is liquidity, as once an investment is made it may not be possible to get it back before the end of the loan term unless there is someone that can buy it from you. A common risk with all investments, and investing in projects on Trillion Fund is no exception, is that of returns not necessarily meeting the target that was set out. The organisation recommends opting for post-construction projects to reduce the level of risk associated with investment.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.