- About us
- Our work
- Get involved
- Meet your MP about community energy this Community Energy Fortnight
- What next for community energy in a post-FIT world?
- We can do more to foster community energy in low-income communities.
- A new generation of investors are using their money to drive change
- People, Power and Happiness
- A review of CEF17
- Community energy, a magic bullet for a multitude of charitable objectives
- Community Energy Fortnight Lobbying Pack 2017
- How smart technology is empowering rural energy projects
- Community energy is not just what we do, but how we do it - By Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK
- “It's all still to play for" says Co-op Energy's Head of Renewables
- York Community Energy trip round the panels of Auld Reekie with Edinburgh Community Solar
- The Ramblers: Protecting the places we love to walk in a changing climate
- Why Community Energy Fortnight is so important - By Emma Bridge
- CEF17 is Powering Together!
- Community Energy Fortnight 2017 dates announced and news of a new collaboration
- The community energy revolution is evolving, and the future’s bright
- Investing in community energy schemes
- Energising faith communities: the Spirit project
- Community Energy - the way forward
- CEF16 dates announced
- The community energy revolution pushes on in face of storm clouds
- Blogs 2015
- Blogs 2014
A new generation of investors are using their money to drive change
As a society we have never been more aware of the impact of our actions; from the food we eat to the cars we drive, our sense of social conscience is stronger than ever. Many people are now choosing to take an ethical approach and apply this to how they invest their money.
The term “impact investment” is becoming more widely used in by the financial industry and retail investors alike. But what does it mean, and can investors really make a positive social impact with their money?
That was the aim of Energise Africa, a joint initiative from Lendahand EU and Ethex, two of Europe’s biggest ethical investment platforms, when it launched in October last year. The vision was to bring UK retail investors the opportunity to invest directly in businesses bringing life-changing solar access to thousands of people living without electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Just over 6 months on and the initiative has raised close to £4 million in funding for projects in rural areas of Africa, with investors earning a potential return of up to 6%. To translate this into actual impact, it means there are more than 160,000 people that now have access to clean, reliable and affordable solar energy, with an environmental impact of reducing CO2 emissions by more than 38,000 tonnes per annum.
One of the pioneering businesses funded through Energise Africa investors is SolarNow. SolarNow has been transforming the lives of East Africans by providing rural families with access to quality, affordable and sustainable solar energy since 2011. SolarNow installed solar panels at Lumuza Secondary School in rural Uganda, and the introduction of solar energy has provided a major boost to the students’ education and future prospects. Prior to getting solar, the school was too rural to access Uganda’s unreliable energy grid and relied on a kerosene generator which was noisy, expensive, provided low-quality lighting which was difficult to read in and also produced CO2 emissions.
Having access to solar has had a huge impact on the lives of the students at the Lumuza school. Not least, having good quality reliable lighting means they can read properly after dark and study for longer each day - having extra time in the mornings and evenings for personal study time, which is important in helping them to perform to the best of their abilities in exams. In addition, the solar energy access also brought with it new learning opportunities as now the school is able to provide computers and have access to the internet for the first time.
Another SolarNow customer is Patience, a young, female business owner in rural Uganda. She runs a small local store that provides her with income to look after her young family. Before she had solar installed in her shop, Patience was constantly worried about power cuts from her unreliable electricity generator, and she found the cost of running this restrictive to her business. If she was unable to pay the bill, there would be no energy. Since getting solar, she has installed fridges in the store, meaning she can sell cold drinks and refrigerated food to her customers, without the worry of high bills or power cuts. Since getting solar, Patience’s shop’s popularity has greatly increased, and her customer numbers multiplied, meaning higher profits for her and increased opportunities for future trade.
Are you interested in investing in clean energy? See our available projects here.
Capital is at risk.
Investors can begin from just £50 to drive positive change, whilst delivering an investment return that can often be higher than traditional investments or savings accounts. James Harman, an Energise Africa investor, is particularly motivated make his money do good because….
"It’s not often you get the chance to help save the planet at the same time as reducing poverty in some of the world’s most disadvantaged countries. It’s even rarer to do this while potentially earning a healthy return on investment!”
“Energise Africa is a truly excellent opportunity to actually do some good in the world."
Matt Boxall, another Energise Africa investor, wants to make his money have purpose because…
"I feel this investment is one of my most influential effects on shaping the world around me and can be more powerful than our democratic system in shaping our future. Investing through Energise Africa makes charity an astute financial decision rather than a philanthropic gesture.”
Are you interested in supporting affordable clean energy access for African families? Take a look at the available investments on our website, with potential returns of up to 6%. Capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed.
Increasingly, investors are empowered to assess the social impact they want to have with their money and balance this up with the financial return and risk associated with different products. The interest shown in the products offered by Energise Africa and the investments already received, coupled with the initial repayments being received by investors in these products, should be seen as an encouraging step towards achieving the additional funding needed to achieve the global goals on target.
Find out more about clean and affordable energy projects here
Capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed. Please read the full risk warning on https://www.lendahand.co.uk/risk before deciding to invest.