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Octopus seeks solar investors

Octopus Investments is hoping to make further investment in renewable energy with funding from some of its lower risk, capital preservation-focused investments. 

By Renewable Energy Focus Staff

The move follows the success of Octopus Investments in delivering 11 large-scale solar sites, also funded by investors, with the help of its solar development partner Lightsource Renewable Energy. All the sites were connected to the UK National Grid ahead of the feed-in tariff deadline of 1 August.

Octopus hopes to raise up to £120m into its Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), which is currently open to investors, and a new Venture Capital Trust (VCT), due to open shortly.

The minimum investment in VCT funds is £3,000. Octopus expects these to be popular with smaller investors.

Paul Latham, MD of Octopus, says: “People haven’t missed out on the investment opportunity from solar, but now that the 1 August deadline for large-scale solar farms has passed, the focus has turned to a portfolio of smaller solar installations. By smaller we mean sub-50kW sites, about the size of two tennis courts.

“Investments in solar currently qualify for both VCT and EIS tax benefits, although this is set to change after 5 April 2012. So there’s a limited opportunity for investors and they can’t afford to wait until next tax year. With investors able to invest in solar starting with as little as £3,000 this is substantially less than it would cost to install a solar array onto the roof of a house.”

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Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity