Indigo Power raises funds for community energy hubs

A new community owned energy company looking to build a network of community energy hubs across regional Victoria, has successfully completed its first investment round, fully subscribing its initial offer.

Indigo Power succeeded in raising $300,000 of initial investment capital through a crowd investment offer that the company will now use to expand the number of 100 per cent renewable energy hubs serving Victorian regional communities.

The investment target was achieved in just four days, attracting the interest of 247 investors. Indigo Power had sought to foster the involvement of local community members in the investment round, ensuring the ownership of the company reflected the communities it seeks to work with.

The company noted that around $160 million was spent on electricity by households in the north-east Victoria region, and saw an opportunity to work with local communities to retain some of that value through investments in distributed solar and storage projects.

Indigo Power said that it was encouraging that the crowd investment round was so successful, given the current economic environment, with many recognising the role of local enterprises in supporting the economy.

“Despite COVID-19 and the current uncertainty, people from across North East Victoria overwhelmingly backed Indigo Power’s vision for regional communities taking the lead on clean energy, and keeping some of the money spent on electricity bills in our region,” Indigo Power managing director Ben McGowan said.

“In the current pandemic, people are realising how important local business is. We thought there was support for a local electricity supplier when we launched Indigo Power, and this share offer confirms that. We’re now ready to expand, to supply electricity to households right across the region.”

Indigo Power was born out of a community round initiative to convert the Victorian town of Yackandandah to run on community owned renewable energy and storage projects.

Indigo Power said that around 60 per cent of Yackandandah households now have solar installed, along with a growing number of public buildings including the installation of a 90kW solar installation a health facility within Yackandandah, which was followed by an additional ten projects throughout the town in 2019.

Indigo Power will now look to replicate this model across an addition 31 communities across the North-east Victorian region.

The group found that there was a need to establish a new initiative that would both help facilitate the trading of power between community members, as well as allowing the model to be expanded to other regional communities.

The company will uses the investment funds raised to help develop the infrastructure necessary to help better support community members to manage and trade power, as well as working to meet regulatory requirements for the operation of local microgrid arrangements.

“We will use the funds to keep working to power communities with clean energy through community energy hubs. This means expanding our electricity plan to more people across North East Victoria and into the Border Region of NSW, and building more community owned, local renewable energy infrastructure,” McGowan added.

“Community ownership is integral to our company, and we would like to thank and welcome the approximately 250 new Indigo Power shareholders into the Indigo Power community.”

Indigo Power used the platform Birchal to undertake the investment round, which said that it was also surprised that the investment round was so successful, after initial expectations of subdued interest.

The company launched the funding round with an initial three-week timeframe, but succeeded in fully subscribing the offer in just a matter of days.

“Indigo Power met their target in record time, and we never expected to have one of the fastest sell-out raises in Australia at this time. Clearly, there’s enormous support for the team behind the company and the clean energy vision for their region,” Birchal co-founder Alan Crabbe said.

Wodonga resident Michelle Wilkinson, who participated in the investment round, said that it was her children that motivated her investment in Indigo Power.

“I invested in Indigo Power on behalf of my children because I want my children to participate in a local renewable energy future. I am proud to have become a shareholder and become a part of a movement to bring our energy back to our region,” Wilkinson said.

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