A new scheme will see Yorkshire locals being offered the chance to invest in a solar power mutual for a 5pc annual return.
The new 'mini bond' will be used to finance solar panel installations across hundreds of properties in Barnsley. Energise Barnsley, the mutual behind the scheme, is hoping to also install the solar PV panels on to the town's public buildings as well as private homes.
Each panel will generate power which will then be sold to the National Grid for a set price that is inflation-linked and guaranteed for decades ahead.
Energise Barnsley is hoping to use the five-year bond scheme to generate £1.2m of investment, and it will use the money to complete on another development loan.
Founder Andy Held says that he plans to repay the bonds at their maturity point by raising funds from local pension funds - with locals likely to be attracted to the prospect of a healthy and secure income from the solar panels.
However, if this alternative funding cannot be secured within five years to repay the bonds, investors will receive an increased rate of 6pc, along with an inflation-linked rise.
The developer also has a loan arrangement in place of £1.5 million with Charity Bank.
The scheme has received a guarantee from British Gas, the panel installers, that it will make up any generation revenue shortfall if the panels do not live up to their promised performance levels.
The scheme is being supported by the local council, who will be providing a representative for the board, but they will not actually be underwriting any element of the debt. Residents will be able to invest at levels of £100 to £1000, depending on where they live.