Wind firm hoping for 
£2.5m in crowdfunding

Steve Milner, managing director of Wetherby-based Earthmill, which has just launched a second round of crowd-funding. (S)

Steve Milner, managing director of Wetherby-based Earthmill, which has just launched a second round of crowd-funding. (S)

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A Wetherby-based wind turbine business has launched a UK record £2.5m crowd-funded investment that enables individuals to invest in farm-scale turbines.

The deal by Earthmill is based on the success its initial fund, which was the UK’s first crowd-funded investment aimed at small-scale turbines and was over-subscribed. It raised £1.25m in just eight weeks earlier this year before closing earlier than expected.

“We were obviously pleased with the take-up of the initial fundraising and decided that, in the current climate of expensive bank lending, crowd-funding in green tech and renewables made sense again,” said Steve Milner, managing director of Earthmill.

“There is an appetite among investors for debt returns underpinned by these existing and highly productive assets, and this will help us drive further growth and fund 10 new turbine installations across the UK.”

The firm’s latest offering guarantees investors who come on board in the first month an interest rate of 7.5 per cent per annum over three years, with 7 per cent for those who invest later in the scheme. The fund has been launched by renewable energy crowd-funding platform Trillion Fund.

Investments start from £50 and loans will be secured against 10 already operational farm-scale turbines, four of which are in Yorkshire.

Mr Milner said: “There is a growing recognition that the medium-scale individual wind turbines being installed by farmers are a positive addition to the landscape. Not only are they built on a more human scale than wind-farm turbines but they are adding to the power generated by renewables and reducing the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.”

He added: “Investors who wanted to enter the wind-turbine market used to need land, and between £250,000 and £600,000, to buy and install their own turbine. Crowd-funding is a brilliant way of enabling almost anyone who’s interested in wind power to get involved and directly benefit from renewable energy.”

Earthmill, which employs 36 staff, has so far installed more than 200 turbines on farms across the UK.