Huge public support for first UK council solar bonds

The first council solar bonds to be issued in the UK have closed ahead of its final deadline.

The bonds, which sold out a month earlier than expected as a result of huge public interest, will fund the 5MW Swindon Community Solar Farm.

They were open to anyone with a minimum investment of £5 and a rate of return of 6% during its 20-year term.

They were offered in February and closed after investment platform Abundance hit the £1.8 million target yesterday. According to Abundance, it attracted an average of £18,000 in investment per day, with one-third coming from the Swindon area.

Swindon Borough Council is co-investing £3 million in the project as part of its efforts to install 200MW of renewable capacity by 2020.

Councillor Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, said: “It was a calculated risk to raise £1.8 million this way but we knew there was an appetite from residents to invest in something with genuine environmental and community benefits.”

Construction has already started and the solar farm is due to be completed by the end of June.

Abundance is said to have received inquiries from other councils interested in following Swindon’s lead.