Abundance worked with Swindon Borough Council for interesting projects: to build and finance of a 4.8MW ground mounted solar park and the first Council low carbon project.
Abundance worked with Swindon Borough Council (SBC) to build and finance of a 4.8MW ground mounted solar park at Swindon Common Farm. The solar park is owned by Swindon Common Farm Community Interest Company, which is required to pay a proportion of its profits to benefit the local community. This installation was part-financed by Swindon Borough Council and part-financed with a £1.8 m local retail Debenture (bond) offer on the Abundance platform. The Council opted to go to the public rather than institutions due to a desire to localize the financial benefits as well as increase public engagement with the Council’s low carbon agenda. Abundance listed the Debenture on their platform in February 2016 and ran a local marketing campaign to engage local residents, who were able to invest from as little as £5 and could choose to invest through a tax-advantaged ISA wrapper (the first project of this type that was eligible). As a result, this partnership has created the first Council low carbon project finance bond in the UK. The project was successfully financed in 3 and a half months. 40% of investment came from Swindon and the local area showing high local engagement. Local investors invested more on average (nearly double) than non- locals, showing a high level of local engagement in the project. Following on from the success of the first Debenture offer the Council opted to work with Abundance on a second offer in the same year. Swindon Chapel Farm Solar was listed in November 2016 and successfully raised £2.45 m from the general public and local residents.