A new crowdfunding platform that helps individuals invest in projects like community solar could bridge the gap for a growing number of people interested in holding sustainable investments.
“The Raise Green platform combines this desire for action on sustainability with easy access for investors and developers, while still retaining authenticity that projects have verifiable impacts on clean energy and other climate solutions,” reports PV Magazine.
- Concise headlines. Original content. Timely news and views from a select group of opinion leaders. Special extras.
- Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
- The Weekender: The climate news you need.
In one U.S. survey [pdf], 85% of individual investors—and 95% of millennials—expressed interest in sustainable investing. But proportion actually holding sustainable investments lags far behind, with only 52% of millennials and 67% of the general population taking part in at least one sustainable investing activity. The gap reflects multiple barriers, including small investors’ concerns about authenticity or greenwashing and a lack of available financial products that fit their portfolios.
Raise Green offers a process for individuals to invest in climate-focused projects and, to offset concerns about greenwashing, claims to ensure the authenticity of each project’s claims. The platform was designed by co-founder and CEO Franz Hochstrasser—previously a member of the team that negotiated the Paris Agreement—who aims to “enable anyone to directly respond to climate change,” PV Magazine says. The company’s business model was made possible after the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission allowed private equity investing through crowdfunding, and differs from other crowdfunding platforms because it can issue debt notes or equity stakes.
After launching its Originator Engine, the platform automated the process of developing a community solar project by aggregating and templating information from hundreds of pages of documents. It provides entrepreneurs with straightforward institutional knowledge, along with the tools and resources they need to work “from start to finish,” PV Magazine says.
Raise Green claims this new addition can “help drive entrepreneurship and community resilience by empowering nearly anyone to start their own solar energy business.”
So far, Raise Green has connected investors with 18 “climate solutions” projects that include community solar, electric vehicle charging, and sustainable manufacturing and batteries. The company also recently announced US$1.2-million in seed financing in partnership with Onyx Renewable Partners, and was named Environmental Finance’s Impact Investing Platform of the Year.