Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Video: Renewable energy investment explained

Alternative energy schemes could provide alternative investment for millions of UK savers but how do they work, what are the risks and what are the returns?

Asking the questions on peoples minds about the Energy Bonds scheme

Renewable energy is currently a hot topic in the business world, with financial experts picking green energy investment as one to watch for those looking to invest in something ethical and sustainable without necessarily comprising their investment return.

But what types of renewable energy schemes should investors consider? How do they work and what are the likely returns and potential risks?

The Energy Bonds scheme is the UK’s first secured solar mini bond, which sees investment in a countrywide scheme that allows businesses to convert their roof space to mini solar farms at no cost to themselves in exchange for significantly reduced energy bills.

For investors a 6.5% return is paid quarterly over three years, which compares favourably to the rates being offered by banks’ traditional savings accounts.

In fact, the situation for savers has become so miserable that some everyday current accounts now pay better rates than those specifically designed for saving.

For the majority of savers, the average interest rate in a savings account is less than 2%. With inflation running at around 2.7% it means that savers are effectively losing money by leaving their savings in the bank.

With the government’s commitment to providing subsidies to green businesses and underwriting energy efficient schemes in order to meet Kyoto Protocol carbon emission reduction targets, schemes such as Secured Energy Bonds are expected to become more of an attractive proposition to businesses and investors in coming years.

So are Energy Bonds something you should be looking into?

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