Dart Renewables Limited, the operator of the Totnes Weir hydro power scheme, is giving locals the chance to invest in clean, renewable energy generation as part of a crowdfunding push that opens to the public today. The company is refinancing to raise a total of £1.8 million through a ten-year bond paying investors 5% per year interest (inflation linked). The bond is being promoted by Triodos Bank's crowdfunding platform.
The twin turbine 360 kW hydro scheme has been operating for over two years. In the 12 months to 31 January 2018, it generated over 1,330 MWh of clean electricity - enough to power the equivalent of approximately 320 homes and save the equivalent of 600 tonnes of CO2. The electricity generated from the scheme is already used to power a local school, King Edward VI Community College (KEVICC), as well as an aluminium foundry in Totnes, with surplus electricity generated sold to the grid.
The hydro scheme incorporates a modern fish pass, allowing salmon and sea trout to move past the weir in order to reach historic spawning grounds on Dartmoor. Over time, fish numbers should increase, leading to ecological restoration of the whole river. Dart Renewables also provides tours and educational sessions on-site for local school children.
Pete Kibel, Director of Dart Renewables said, "We generate 100 MW of renewable electricity every month, providing a small but significant contribution to combating climate change and decarbonising the planet. And if that's not important enough on its own, we wanted to have the minimal environmental impact, and for the local community to benefit from this natural resource by having us here."
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The Totnes Weir scheme plays an important part in the Renewable Energy Experiential Learning (REEL) project delivered by Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC). The project works with children in local primary schools and introduces them to renewable technologies, inspiring the next generation of renewable technologists and environmentalists.
The bonds can be held in an Innovative Finance ISA which means that investors get their interest paid tax-free. The offer is also open to investors who want to hold bonds directly and receive interest after withholding of basic rate income tax. The minimum investment is £500. The hydro scheme benefits from guaranteed index linked payments for the next 17 years under the government's Feed-In-Tariff scheme.
Research from Triodos Bank  reveals the growing appetite for crowdfunding among savers, particularly in the South West. A quarter of savers (26%) nationally think that crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly attractive option to invest, rising to a third (32%) in the South West - the second highest of all UK regions.
Triodos recently became the first bank to launch a crowdfunding platform. It offers a range of crowdfunding opportunities enabling people to invest directly in equity or bonds issued by organisations delivering positive social and environmental impacts. A third (36%) of savers in the UK say they would be more willing to trust a crowdfunding site if it was run by a bank or building society.
Triodos Bank already has an excellent track record in raising finance for social and environmental organisations and in the last 15 years has raised more than £130 million to fund over 50 impact projects. In 2003, Triodos successfully raised the first charity bond in the UK for Golden Lane Housing, one of the UK's leading supported housing charities for people with a learning disability. In 2013, a further £10 million was raised for the charity including a refinancing of the 2003 bond where over 40 per cent of bondholders re-invested.
Dan Hird, Head of Corporate Finance at Triodos Bank, said: "To tackle the big issues we face today we need to inspire investors to support progressive and pioneering businesses, such as Dart Renewables. It aligns with our mission at Triodos Bank to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change."
For more information and to register interest and receive alerts each time a new offer goes live, visit www.triodoscrowdfunding.co.uk.
An investment in Dart Renewable bonds is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Dart Renewables' ability to pay the interest and repay the bonds is not guaranteed and is dependent on the continued success of its business model. Dart Renewable bonds are unquoted securities with a fixed repayment date and although the bonds are transferable, investors should be aware that they may not be able to access their capital during the life of the bond.
Notes to Editors
 Research conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of Triodos Bank, 9th to 12th February 2018, among 2,002 nationally representative UK adults (aged 18+).
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About Dart Renewables
Dart Renewables Limited (the "Company") is a private limited company, registered in England with registered office at Unit 1a Webbers Way, Dartington, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6JY (registered number 07098258).
About Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking using the power of finance to invest in projects that are good for people and the planet. Triodos uses its €14.5 billion (2017) in assets to create social, environmental and cultural value in a transparent and sustainable way. With UK operations based in Bristol, Triodos Bank has branches in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany and an agency in France. Globally, Triodos Bank has microfinance projects in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a worldwide network of 43 banks seeking to transform finance into a vehicle of positive influence.
Triodos Bank NV (incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands with limited liability, registered in England and Wales BR3012). Authorised by the Dutch Central Bank and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. Firm reference number 183366.
Investments offered on the crowdfunding platform are not readily realisable, which means that they may be difficult to sell and you may not get back the full amount invested. Investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and your capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed. Repayment of capital and interest or payment of dividends will be dependent on the success of the organisation's business model and past performance isn't a reliable indicator of future performance. You should always read the offer document in full before deciding whether or not to invest as it will cover risks specific to an individual investment. You can read more about the general risks associated with making these types of investments here. If you are unsure if any of these investments are right for you, you should contact an Independent Financial Adviser.