Solar VCTs suspended by Ingenious

Ingenious Ventures has become the second high-profile fund manager to suspend fundraising for its solar investment products in the wake of the government about-turn on feed-in tariffs.

In a statement today, Ingenious blames ‘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. The products will be suspended ‘pending further clarification of the government’s position’.

Ingenious chief executive James Clayton announced last week the firm launched a review to assess the viability of the products, despite earlier this month injecting £1 million from the group’s corporate balance sheet into the trusts. The two VCTs were launched in November.

The decision comes after energy minister Charles Hendry’s shock announcement on 7 February that all aspects of the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme are under review. He says he is concerned large-scale commercial operations are 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.

Earlier this month, the Matrix Group suspended fundraising for its Clean Energy VCTs. However others, such as Foresight, will continue fundraising for their related products in spite of expected changes that will cut the tariff for large energy producers from July.

The Ingenious statement says both the firm and Low Carbon, the venture created to manage the investments, have ‘a high level of confidence’ that a number of rooftop solar PV installations and projects, which were to be invested in, will be built before the changes came into effect.

‘However, there remain uncertainties in the government review process which are outside our control,’ it continues. ‘In these circumstances and until the position is clarified, Ingenious, the boards and Low Carbon have taken the view that investors’ best interests will be served by suspending the offer and returning funds to investors.’

In a sign that Ingenious aims to pursue investments in solar, the statement continues: ‘The strategy of the Solar VCTs still provides a highly attractive investment opportunity as well as a valuable contribution of capital to the building out of the UK’s solar energy generation capacity at the point of demand.

‘In addition the need for investment in this sector is clear given the UK needs to replace 25 per cent of its generating capacity by 2020 as well as meeting its EU targets of generating 30 per cent of electricity from renewables in the same timescale.

‘Should the government act to remove any residual uncertainty in the risks of executing the investment strategy, Ingenious will be pleased to re-open the offer with priority for investors who have already subscribed.’

The statement adds Ingenious will soon write to investors to provide details of how funds can be returned.

Nick Britton

Nick Britton

Nick was the Managing Editor for when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence to Head of Intermediary...

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