What is a CEFS?

Simply put, Community Energy Financing Schemes (CEFS) are funding programmes that finance community energy projects.

These schemes aim to reduce financing barriers for energy communities, which can vary widely and depend on the specific financing barrier that needs to be overcome, such as access to risk capital or the need for small loans.

Here are two examples of CEFS:

1) Realisatiefonds, The Netherlands

The Realisatiefonds – translated as the Realisation Fund – for energy cooperatives was launched at the end of 2021. Since then, it helped 43 energy communities in securing business loans for the building phase oftheir large-scale PV projects. The loan can vary from 30,000 to 1 million euro and covers up to 75% of the total realisation costs of the project. The fund is managed by Energie Samen, one of the partners of the ACCE project. One of the strengths of the fund is that the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined: three ethic and cooperative banks supply the funds that will eventually be given in the form of loans. A fund manager guides the applicants – energy cooperatives – for those loans through the application process. They help them complete their financing dossier and check the quality of the application and of the project.
When the dossier is complete, it is sent to the fund controller, who comes back with a quote for the loan within five days. This is possible because the procedures are highly standardised, allowing for a swift reaction
time. After the applicant accepts the loan offer, the money is made available in the form of a construction deposit. Cooperatives hand in invoices to the fund controller, who pays the invoices or reimburses them with money from the deposit


2) Energie Partagée Investissement, France

Investissement (EPI) is a fund that focuses on financing the construction phase of citizen energy projects in France. It was created in 2010 by two consulting and engineering firms in sustainable development (Inddigo and Hespul), ethical bank La Nef and renewable energy provider Enercoop.
It is the sister organisation to NGO Energie Partagée Association, the French federation for citizen energy.Energie Partagée Association raises awareness on citizen energy and federates its actors and project leaders on a national scale. It runs a network of 390-member organisations, including many local citizen collectives active in energy projects.
The fund collects savings from citizens and invests them as equity in the capital of citizen renewable energy project companies. It then represents the citizens in the governance of the project with a long-term vision.
This equity investment allows the project to be consolidated over time and makes it easier to obtain bank financing. The market knowledge and notoriety of the fund allows it to invest in a portfolio of projects and
to make citizen collectives, local authorities and private companies work together on a variety of different projects across France. Since 2010, EPI has invested 27.7 million euro in a little over 100 projects, covering all renewable energy technologies in France (solar, wind, hydroelectricity, biomass, heating).


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