At 9AM (PST) on Monday, the Kickstarter of solar, Solar Mosaic, will officially open up its site to residents of California and New York, as well as accredited investors, looking to make money by investing in solar panel roof projects. For months (at least since last Summer), Solar Mosaic has been enabling a small amount of investors to experiment with investing in, and earning money off of, the returns from solar roofs, but this is the company’s big public launch.
The company was founded back in October 2010, and I wrote one of the first profiles of Solar Mosaic in October 2011. It took the startup a little over two years to test out its beta Kickstarter-style platform, become registered to share securities with the public, and last year got a vote of confidence from the crowd funding bill. The company is backed by Spring Ventures.
For potential investors, solar roofs can provide a low risk return — any where from between 4 to 12 percent on an investment — kind of like investing in a mutual fund. Building owners lease solar panel systems and enter into a contract for a fixed, low, electricity rate, commonly over about two decades. Solar Mosaic organizes the crowd-funding to get the solar rooftop installed, and works with a solar lease provider like Sungevity. Once the project gets crowd-funded, the rooftop solar panel installation process starts.
Solar loans are backed by a revenue-producing asset (electricity) and the building just owners pay for the solar electricity monthly in the same way they have been paying their monthly utility bill. The buildings owners aren’t all that likely to default on their electricity payments and the costs, timelines and returns for solar panels are pretty transparent as the technology has become increasingly commoditized. Another company that has created a site for crowd-funded solar is SunFunder.
Solar Mosaic says its first investments will offer a 4.5 percent annual return, including servicing fees, with a nine year term. The company says it is offering “better expected yield than most investment products available to the general public.” The company will hold a press call at 10 PST, and we’ll update this story after the call.
See our previous stories on Solar Mosaic:
- Solar Mosaic, the Kickstarter of solar aims high
- The Kickstarter of solar could make you money starting this Summer
- How crowd-funding could revolutionize solar
- The clean energy revolution will be crowd funded