Return to solar investment for Ingenious

Investment and advisory group Ingenious has announced a return to solar investment with the launch of two new Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) funds that aim to invest in sustainable businesses and projects around the UK.

The schemes have been launched through the Ingenious subsidiary Ingenious Clean Energy, which was set up earlier this year after the suspension of its Solar VCTs in February. The new funds have been named the Ingenious Energy Efficiency EIS Fund and the Ingenious Solar UK EIS.

The Ingenious Energy Efficiency EIS Fund, which the firm claims is a UK first, is targeting a £10 million raise and will invest in companies that install energy saving equipment in UK private and public sector commercial and industrial properties.

The projects will aim to reduce the energy consumption in the buildings by a minimum of 25 per cent. The proven energy saving equipment installed will range from low energy light bulbs to heating and cooling equipment and innovative insulation techniques.

The fund will work in partnership with energy efficiency consultancy Sustainable Development Capital LLP which has been appointed as investment adviser to assist in evaluating investment opportunities.

The Ingenious Solar UK EIS will invest in companies that operate a portfolio of sub-50kW solar photovoltaic facilities around the south of England. The firm aims to have in the scheme’s portfolio companies that will benefit from a ‘strong pipeline of projects’ and cash generation from the government-backed feed-in tariffs (FITs).

Ingenious Ventures became the second high-profile fund manager to suspend fundraising for its solar investment products in February this year after the government made an about-turn on FITs.

In a statement, Ingenious blamed ‘uncertainties’ in the government’s review of the tariff scheme, which has come one year earlier than scheduled, for pulling the two ventures, Ingenious Solar UK VCT 1 and VCT 2, which were launched in November last year. The products were suspended ‘pending further clarification of the government’s position’.

The suspension followed energy minister Charles Hendry’s shock announcement the same month that all aspects of the FITs scheme were under a comprehensive review.

He said at the time that he was concerned large-scale commercial operations were exploiting the tariffs. Under the scheme created in April last year, the government pays homeowners, businesses and organisations which generate power using small-scale green energy installations such as solar panels. Phase one of the review is scheduled to end in December this year.

Sebastian Speight, managing director of Ingenious Clean Energy, comments, ‘These two new funds enable our investors to participate in the growth of an important, innovative sector.’

James Axtell, fund head of the Energy Efficiency EIS Fund, adds, ‘To date, high upfront capital costs have deterred property owners from investing in energy saving equipment resulting in a lack of funding. By working with specialists such as SDCL, we can start reversing this trend, while offering an attractive investment opportunity for the fund and its investors.’

Founded in 2007, Sustainable Development Capital (SDCL) is an investment advisory business focused on the sustainability sector.

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.