Why crowdfunding? Why not just take a bank loan?
The goal is to allow people who do not have their own roofs or enough savings to become a co-owner of a renewable energy installation. Bank loans are complicated and defeats the purpose of involving citizens.
You say "crowdfunding", so is this purely philanthropy? Do I get my money back? If yes, how long does it take for me to recover the initial crowdfunding cost?
Yes, you do get your money back :) Every year, based on the amount of electricity that is sold and the number of shares you own, you get some money back, similar to a "dividend". Based on our analysis, it takes between 10-20 years to recover the cost. The lifetime of the installation is estimated to be 25 years. In other words, your share will start to make a little money if you hold it for longer time. However, please remember this is NOT a financial investment product. Even though the goal is to make citizens benefit from the green transition, one should not expect to become rich by owning share(s) :)
You mentioned yearly economic returns. Are they taxable?
The returns you receive to recover the initial crowdfunding cost is not taxable, but the returns you get afterwards will be subject to tax in Denmark. We will provide relevant information to SKAT every year, and that is why we need your permission to collect your information such as CPR number.
How many shares are there for the crowdfunding?
Each share is equivalent to 100W of solar. We aim to crowdfund 100 kW installation as a start, so there will be 1000 shares.
How much does a share cost?
For the initial crowdfunding, we estimate a share costs around 1000 kr. Of course the exact share price will be confirmed after we select a contractor and know the actual cost. After the solar panels are installed, the cost of a share changes yearly, based on the market value of the solar installation and depreciation.
Who can crowdfund or become a member?
Anyone can participate but we'd like to keep it local, so it is a plus if you live in Aarhus, even better if you are somewhat connected to Aarhus University (e.g. student, staff, alumni, etc). The statutes of the cooperative (only in Danish) specifies membership requirement. If you are uncertain, feel free to write to us, and the board of directors will evaluate whether you can participate.
I am interested. How do I participate in the crowdfunding?
You can reserve shares for 100 kr/share. After we select a contractor and find out the exact cost of the total installation, you just buy shares by paying the balance. So, for example, if someone wants to buy 10 shares, he/she would firstly pay 1,000 kr (i.e. 100 *10) as a reservation. If the total installation eventually costs 900,000 kr, which means it costs 9,000 kr to own 10 shares, he/she pays 8,000 kr (i.e. 9000kr - 1000kr) after the contractor is selected.
Why do you ask for my personal information during the crowdfunding?
When crowdfunding starts (including the reservation), we ask for your name, email address, telephone number, CPR number, and bank account number. The contact information are only used to contact you regarding the solar cooperative and the progress of the project. We ask for bank account number, so we can make sure that the yearly returns are paid to you when the project realises, or we can return the reservation payment to you if the project does not realise. We ask for CPR number, because we are required to report to SKAT every year the list of members. You need to agree and sign the consent before reserving shares.
How do you make sure that my personal information is safe?
The board of UEF acts as single point of contact. We receive inquiries and request for reservation with your consent. Personal information is sent securely to UEF's administrator EBO Consult, who enters and stores the data in a GDPR compliant system. The board then deletes the personal data from UEF's end. The board does not keep any personal information except email address, after the confirmation is sent.
Why do you not use a crowdfunding platform?
As a small association, UEF has limited resources. We wish to use the crowdfunded money on the solar installation. Plus, we checked with a few crowdfunding platforms but unfortunately they could not carry out all the functions we wished (e.g. reporting to SKAT yearly, distributing the money back to shareowners, etc). So, we decided to follow the practice of most small Danish volunteer-run associations.
What if my situations change and I do not want to participate in the crowdfunding anymore?
We understand things happen and situations change. If you change your mind after paying for the reservation, you can choose to not to proceed with buying shares. In this situation, you forfeit the reservation, and the payment will be deemed as a donation to the solar cooperative.
What if I want to buy more shares?
To make sure as many people as possible can participate, our statutes requires that no member can own more than 5% of all the shares, i.e. no one can have more than 50 shares. If you have reserved for one share and would like to buy more shares afterwards, it depends on whether there are any shares available. Members can also sell and buy shares from other members in the future. See the details in the statutes.
Can I sell the share in the future?
Yes, you will be able to sell the shares. As we are just setting up and starting the first crowdfunding, there are not so much details on selling shares yet. But in the future, we aim to provide information on the website, e.g. waiting list for people who would like to buy shares.
Is it possible to buy a share as a gift to my family/friends?
We agree it is a very cool idea to give a share in the solar project as a gift, and we definitely would like to help you to make that happen. Please get in touch with the board at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will explain the details and steps.