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16 September, 2011 - 14:44 By News Desk

New £40m solar VCT launched

CleanTech angels coralled by Octopus funded the UK’s largest solar farm, which went live on a Suffolk manufacturer’s roof in July

East of England renewable energy companies – particularly solar plays – have been handed the chance to tilt at a new £40 million Venture Capital Trust launched by Octopus Investments.

CleanTech angels coralled by Octopus funded the UK’s largest solar farm, which went live on a Suffolk manufacturer’s roof in July.

Now Octopus is dangling a fresh and juicy carrot in front of CleanTech companies.

Octopus is to channel its investments through developer Lightsource Renewable Energy. The company claimed it was now hooking £10m a month from UK CleanTech angels.

Following the race to complete large scale solar farms by August 1  to qualify for the Government-backed Feed In Tariff, Octopus emerged as the largest investor in the solar sector in the UK.

Its new VCT funds will be committed to companies developing medium sized installations which still qualify for the government cash-back scheme for renewable energy.

The VCT’s have enabled hundreds of small scale investors to gain access to the stable and attractive revenue streams underpinned by the Government’s Clean Energy Cashback Scheme. The FiT gives 25-year RPI-linked subsidies for electricity generated by qualifying solar power installations. The minimum investment is £3,000.

Octopus managing director Paul Latham said: “We see this as an extremely attractive VCT offering for investors. The key benefit of this structure is that it is a ‘limited life’ VCT but also a ‘flexible life’ vehicle for those looking for more long-term tax-free dividends.

Simon Rogerson, chief executive of Octopus, added: “We’ve got an enviable record for solar investment. Thanks to our investment partner Lightsource we’ve delivered more large scale solar installations than any other investment company in the country.

“We’re currently raising more than £10 million a month into our solar-focused Octopus Enterprise Investment Scheme (OEIS) which, like Octopus VCT 3&4, invests companies constructing sub-50kWp sites.”

Paul Latham , Managing Director at Octopus added: “Solar represents a unique investment opportunity, but one that is limited to the remainder of this tax year.

“By April 2012, solar companies will no longer be classed as qualifying investments into Venture Capital Trusts and Enterprise Investment Schemes, which means those investors who wish to take advantage of the predictable revenue streams offered by solar and the tax-friendly incentives, should be talking to their financial adviser about their options now.”

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