UK's first council solar bonds raise GBP-1.8m target early
Whitley Solar Farm sheep. Source: British Solar Renewables. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic via flickr.
Swindon Borough Council has raised GBP 1.8 million (USD 2.6m/EUR 2.3m) to back a 5-MW solar farm in what is said to be the UK's first council solar bonds.
The bond offer, structured by investment platform Abundance, closed on May 31 after reaching its target raise a month earlier than planned. It was launched at the end of February.
"The success of this investment offer has really set a standard for local authorities looking to fund green infrastructure. We’ve had lots of inquiries from other councils interested in following Swindon’s pioneering lead," Abundance managing director Bruce Davis said in a statement.
The Swindon Community solar farm, located on council-owned land at Common Farm, Wroughton, near Swindon, is funded by the bonds and a GBP-3-million investment by the borough council. It is due to be completed by the end of this month. The solar park was pre-accredited for the feed-in tariff (FiT) before the cuts at the start of the year.
The bonds offered an effective rate of return of 6% over their 20-year term, with the minimum investment set at GBP 5.
The solar farm will contribute to Swindon’s goal of installing 200 MW of renewable capacity by 2020, enough to meet the energy needs of all homes in the borough.