Renewable energy projects could help to meet a lack of bank finance through crowd-funding schemes, according to a report from think tank ResPublica.
The study highlighted that renewables projects have already raised £5.2 million through Abundance Generation, a dedicated crowd-funding platform launched in 2011.
Seven projects have attracted an average investment of £1,500, with many investing as little as £5, the think tank said.
Selling shares to local people living around individual projects had raised £17 million from nearly 10,000 investors by 2013, the report added.
Caroline Julian, Head of Research at ResPublica said: “Community energy groups suffer disproportionately from dwindling levels of lending to SMEs in the UK.
“As small and start-up ventures, they need additional support. Crowdfunding has opened up a whole new market of investors, and has revealed a range of new ways for people to invest in something good and that offers a reasonable return.
“We now need a policy and regulatory framework that can further tap into this opportunity.”
The think-tank report was the outcome of a seminar, where contributors included Maria Allen, Special Adviser to Greg Barker, Energy Minister at DECC, Richard Braakenburg, Vice President, Transaction Team, Green Investment Bank, Ramsay Dunning, Group General Manager, Co-operative Energy, Laura Sandys MP, and Alasdair Grainger, Deputy Head of DECC, Commercial Team.