To finance new photovoltaic systems on municipal buildings, the Bonn municipal utility (SWB) wants to issue so-called subordinated loans to its customers. In this way, a total of €300,000 is to be raised through “solar sponsorships” to finance six projects. “The participation runs over a period of five years. With our attractive interest rates of up to three percent, you can invest sustainably and profitably,” said the project managers Christian Roosen and Caren Schneider.
Electricity customers of SWB are to receive a fixed interest rate of even 3.15 percent for shares of €500 to €2500. This is a normal market return: a practically risk-free five-year federal bond currently yields around 2.5 percent in comparison. A corporate bond of the energy group Eon, which runs until 2028, yields 3.5 percent with a corresponding risk premium. The municipal utilities are explicitly addressing their electricity customers with this offer. For everyone else, the offer of just 1.5 percent is of little financial interest.
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Small loans from Bonn residents
In recent years, the city of Bonn has lagged far behind its self-imposed targets for the expansion of photovoltaics. Now, municipal properties are to be equipped with priority. However, the municipal utilities do not have enough equity capital for this. Now, with the small loans from the citizens, 580 solar modules are to be purchased at six locations, which could generate a good 210,000-kilowatt hours of energy per year. Planned are installations on the Gottfried-Kinkel-Schule, the Michaelschule, and the Andreasschule. In addition, the Veilchenweg daycare center and the gymnasiums in Wittestraße and Friesdorfer Straße will also be equipped. At the Gottfried-Kinkel School, for example, the additional electricity requirement should then be reduced by a good third. At the Andreas School, it could be cut by almost half.
“With Bonninvest Solar, we want to give Bonn residents the opportunity to become part of Bonn’s energy transition,” explained Clarissa Pütz from the SWB press office. This would also give people who cannot build their own photovoltaic system on the roof the opportunity to make a contribution.
Other participation models in Bonn
However, the financing model is a subordinated loan, which is not given to SWB Holding, but to the company subsidiary Energie- und Wasserversorgung Bonn/Rhein-Sieg GmbH. In the event of insolvency, which cannot be ruled out, the money would presumably be lost. Details will have to be taken from the tender documents. The municipal utilities want to present these to the circle of those who have registered by May 9th at www.buergerbeteiligung.stadtwerke-bonn.de and expressed their interest. “If it goes well, we would like to initiate further similar projects every year,” reported Pütz.
Another participation model also for Bonn citizens is already offered by Bürgerenergie Rhein-Sieg. Anyone can purchase shares worth €250 each in the cooperative, which also invests in photovoltaic systems. The cooperative also issues subordinated loans. Unlike the SWB initiative, however, cooperators here can also actively contribute to the management with their ideas and expertise.
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First published in General-Angeiger, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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