In what has to be one of the most innovative ideas to come along in the solar energy industry, an Oakland, CA company has hit upon crowdsourcing as a way to fund solar energy projects and turn a profit for investors. So now you can put your money where your mouth is regarding green energy, help to fund projects that will benefit the environment and earn money while doing so. It’s a uniquely American approach that combines the best traditions of activism and capitalism all wrapped up in a smart, sustainable package.
The company, Mosaic, connects people with solar projects and offers some great returns on investments. First launched in January of this year, Mosaic has quickly gathered steam. Unlike Wall Street, you don’t need a big hunk of cash to get started. For as little as $25, you can invest in solar projects offered on the company’s website.
Here’s how it works. First thing you do is sign up at the Mosaic site. Then you browse the available investment opportunities. Investments are actually notes – you are holding a loan (referred to as a Note) on a particular project, along with other investors. The projects are listed with information regarding how long the note will be in force, how much has already been funded, and the rate of interest that will be paid over the course of the loan. Funding is limited to a 90 day window. Once the loan is funded and the projects begin to generate revenue by selling the power generated, the investors begin receiving monthly repayments, which include part of the principal as well as interest payments. The repayments are kept in an account that is FDIC insured and you can either invest in new projects or transfer the money into your checking or savings accounts.
So how much can you earn? The interest rates paid to investors range from 4% to 6%, depending on the project. That’s quite a rate of return, particularly when compared to the interest paid on regular savings accounts or Certificates of Deposit. It even beats the returns on a lot of stocks. Exxon (XOM), the filthy fossil fuel company that rakes in profits hand over fist, pays an annualized dividend of 2.85%.
According to the Mosaic site, over $3.8 million has been invested to date with investors experiencing 100% on-time repayments.
It must be understood that it is an investment, and as such, has risk attached to it. However, Mosaic carefully vets the solar investments they make and in less than a year, has made quite a splash in the solar industry by taking funding out of the hands of a few large banks and putting it into the hands of ordinary citizens who are interested in a sustainable energy future.
It gives a whole new meaning to going green.
For an update on my experience, read the latest article HERE.