CROWDFUNDING FOR COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECTS | THE NETHERLANDS
Although they may want to power their homes with clean energy, more than 43% of Dutch households
can’t install solar panels because they live in apartments, don’t own the building or
have too much shade on their rooftop.
WeShareSolar is working to ensure everyone in The
Netherlands has access to solar power, even if they don’t have a roof. The largest
crowdfunding platform in the EU for community solar projects, WeShareSolar connects site owners who
have a suitable roof (but are not able to invest in sola themselves) with consumers that want to
buy a solar panel but do not have a suitable roof. The project makes it easier for third parties to
develop and operate a community solar project.
WeShareSolar does this by providing access to finance and taking care of administrative tasks. Just
as Airbnb made it possible for homeowners to become a host for travelers, WeShareSolar is the go-to
platform for anyone who wants to invest in solar panels or 'rent out' their roof.
So far, WeShareSolar has enabled 20 projects and the installation of 15,000 solar panels,
thanks to investments from thousands of crowdfunders.
WeShareSolar has crowdfunded €3.0 million. Banks now finance along with the crowdfunders
to leverage the impact a crowdfunded euro has. Because of this, WeShareSolar has already built
€5 million worth of projects.
WeShareSolar now sells out new solar projects within hours.
Solar projects used to have a financing gap, with normal projects ranging from €50,000 to
€500,000. This figure is too small to qualify for project financing at a bank, yet it is too large for
a project owner to invest on their own because the internal rate of return isn’t high enough.
At the same time, 43% of Dutch households can’t benefit from solar panels because they live in
apartments, don’t own the building or have too much shade on their rooftop.
Thanks to the WeShareSolar platform, crowdfunders can directly invest into solar projects and project owners
can submit their solar projects to get the financing needed to build them. WeShareSolar takes care of all the
marketing, administrative and legal work that comes along with it. That gives a solar project access to
investments at a lower rate.
WeShareSolar’s main innovation is a financial one. It developed a specialized solar-bond that has the
same characteristics as having a solar panel on your own roof. When energy prices go up, your return
increases, and when production is better than expected, you return also goes up.
Using this proprietary solar-bond, WeShareSolar decided to offer this solution to third-party solar
projects via its open platform. This platform uses a newly developed legal framework suitable for solar
energy, where all parties involved have one point of contact and all obligations and rights are clear.
This unique approach has allowed WeShareSolar to grow quickly into the largest solar crowdfunding platform
in the EU.
The initiative has also launched an award-winning mobile app that is directly connected to the solar
projects and gives consumers insights into power generated, current 'index-number' of the current
state, current 'solar interest' and what kind of household appliances can be turned on with their
For bigger projects, WeShareSolar works together with banks alongside its crowdfunders, giving leverage to
the original investments from crowdfunders and reducing the cost of capital. In other words, it is making
Helping the planet
To date, WeShareSolar has generated 1,000,000 kWh from solar power. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) calculates
that solar power saves 0.47 kilogram of CO2 per
kWh generated. That means WeShareSolar has already saved 470,000 kg of CO2.
WeShareSolar also encourages energy efficiency though its mobile app, which enables customers to become
more aware of (and therefore reduce) the amount of energy they use.
Through the WeShareSolar platform, everyone can have access to solar power. Crowdfunders can start their
investment with as little as €25. They make an annual return of 3-6%, just shy of the return if they
had these solar panels on their own rooftop, but now without any hassle. More solar energy generated in a
year means a higher return. In this way, WeShareSolar provides households with a small budget an
opportunity to profit from their sustainable investments.
WeShareSolar is making the solar market bigger, generating more work for installers, project developers and
WeShareSolar is built with scalability in mind. More people on the platform means faster financing of the
project and lower costs per customer.
WeShareSolar developed a model that could be, with some knowledge of the local legal framework, be
replicated in any other country. The investments WeShareSolar makes in its IT system for communication,
administration, bookkeeping and payment system for crowdfunders, project developers, rooftop/project
owners, electricity suppliers and banks can easily be translated and used in every other country.
WeShareSolar has a community of crowdfunders from several countries that want to invest in different solar
projects and many of them reinvest several times on its platform.
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