Crowdfunding to finance eco-innovation: case studies from leading renewable energy platforms

Par Nirjhar Nigam, Sondes Mbarek, Cristiane Benetti


The transition from a fossil energy–dependent economy toward a renewable energy-based economy is not possible unless significant investments are made in the renewable energy sector. The enormous challenge ahead demands innovative ways to increase funding of the green economy and green growth. Keeping this in mind, in this paper we investigate which crowdfunding model best supports the financing of renewable energy projects. We empirically investigate the leading 30 crowdfunding platforms specific to renewable energy from seven countries: the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Portugal. We find that renewable energy crowdfunding platforms have raised a combined total of almost €305 million, of which the lending-based model has contributed the most. We also discuss some innovative case studies and innovative models used in this process. The data suggests that crowdfunding has the potential to fulfil financing needs in the renewable energy domain.
JEL Codes: O31, O35, O44, P18, G31


  • renewable energy
  • crowdfunding
  • eco-innovation
  • alternative financing
  • peer-to-peer lending
  • equity-based crowdfunding
  • donation-based lending
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