Goldfield Partners Launch Solar Fund for Wealthy Investors

on Sep 13, 2012

Wealthy individuals keen to capitalise on the growing demand for renewable energy will now be able to do so with the help of Goldfield Partners, who have recently launched their Solar Energy Fund. The fund is the only one in the UK exclusively invested in solar currently open to pension investors and it aims to generate six to eight percent annual returns from solar panels installed on roofs of residential homes and social housing.

The returns for investors will come from the Feed-in-Tariff scheme, under which by law utilities have to pay for all electricity generated by solar power. All the solar panel installations owned by the fund are installed at no cost for the owners or lease-holders of the properties, so residents simply enjoy free renewable energy while all excess power generated for the grid and paid for by the utilities goes to the fund.

The majority of the solar PV systems have already been installed and are fully operational on properties all around the UK. David Gammond, CEO of Goldfield Partners, elaborated on the benefits of the undertaking: “This fund ticks all the boxes for us. Investors have the benefit of the popular feed-in tariff scheme which is linked to RPI and as the systems are sited on domestic properties the families in the houses below receive free renewable electricity which, if managed correctly, can significantly reduce their energy bills.”

!m[](/uploads/story/354/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)Mr Gammond also admits that any further reductions in the feed-in-tariffs will make the proposition more difficult to pitch. Last year the government dramatically cut the tariff from the original 43p per kilowatt hour to 21p, leaving the industry reeling and decreasing the number of new installations per month from around 27,000 to 12,000. In May, the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced further reductions in the tariffs and from 1 August anyone installing solar panels will be paid 16p per kwh and will receive subsidies for 20 years instead of the previously agreed upon 25-year duration.

Even with the recent substantial cuts in the tariffs, solar panels remain a good investment and can yield nice returns, especially considering rapidly rising energy bills. This view is supported by Paul Barwell, chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, who said: “Our figures show that solar is a no-brainer investment. Compared to the returns you can get these days in banks and many other investments, solar provides a very solid and attractive return. That is particularly the case if you consider energy bills are rising faster than anyone expected. Solar gives people the opportunity to take control of their electricity bills and help us move away from damaging fossil-fuel dependence.”

Goldfield Partners’ Solar Energy Fund is one of the first funds to be launched after regulators’ crackdown on the sale of high risk Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS) to retail investors. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has closed off a series of loopholes, which allowed unscrupulous operators to offer all kinds of exotic investments to the British population, promising absurdly high rates of return. With the new rules, UCIS will be allowed to be offered only to wealthy individuals or “sophisticated investors”. Around 100 companies and 500 questionable UCIS and similar schemes have been hit by the clampdown.
Investors in UCIS, including solar panel projects, have weaker consumer protections and are not eligible for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if the fund administrator goes bust. In compound to that, investment operators have the liberty to use new or unorthodox investment strategies, which place their capital at greater risk compared to other, more mainstream, investments.


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