Community solar crowd-funding project sells out in a day | RenewEconomy

Community solar crowd-funding project sells out in a day

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California-based Mosaic may pry open the community solar investment floodgates, with 235kW of solar capacity sold out in just 24 hours.

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Nearly 300 gigawatts of unsubsidized local solar could beat utility prices in the next decade, but until recently most Americans couldn’t participate because their own rooftop isn’t suitable for solar.

That’s changing fast.

Just one project featured in our 2010 community solar report, by the Clean Energy Collective, has managed to replicate its initial success.  But California-based (Solar) Mosaic may pry open the community solar investment floodgates.

Mosaic’s first successful community solar projects used crowdfunding to provide 0% loans to community based solar projects.  But in late 2012, they launched their first investment project, allowing 51 California investors earn 6.38% returns on a 47 kilowatt (kW) solar array on the roof of the Youth Employment Partnership in Oakland.

Their latest offering ups the ante, and was open to regular folks in California and New York (and accredited investors in all 50 states).  The combined capacity of 235 kW of solar capacity sold out in just 24 hours to over 400 investors with an average stake of just $700.  The investment uses a common securities law exemption (Rule 506 of Regulation D), and investors will earn a 4.5% annual return (net of fees) over 9 years, greening the economy and their pocketbooks.

The key advantage of Solar Mosaic is the investment.  Previous community solar projects have relied on shared electricity savings for participants, sometimes called virtual net metering.  This limits prospective investors to the same utility service territory, and the savings can’t be taken to a property outside that area.  The Mosaic model turns community solar into a simple investment, letting prospective investors select a particular Mosaic project to invest in, with significantly higher returns than parking money in a U.S. Treasury or savings account.  For now, it’s limited to broad participation in just two states, New York and California, but Mosaic is “working hard” to expand the opportunity.

Mosaic may be just the first salvo in a firestorm of community renewable energy investment.  The federalJOBS Act of 2012 intends to create a new segment of investment security with much lower upfront and legal costs that would let crowds pool up to $1 million for solar and other renewable energy projects.

The only “drawback” in the Mosaic model is that it doesn’t explicitly connect geography with investment.  A New York City resident, for example, can invest in a project in California, but not in Manhattan or the Bronx.  If this model continues to be successful, however, it’s likely that will change.

In the meantime, Mosaic is rightfully basking in the sun.  The 235 kW capitalized by Mosaic’s first offering isn’t a whole lot of solar, but it is a whole new ballgame for community financed renewable energy.

This article was originally published at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). Re-posted with permission.
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1 Comment
  1. Minwoo Kim 7 years ago

    Obama’s energy policy is right. The world goes solar. Japan’s FiT in July is among the highest in the world. Japan’s FiT is shaking the solar market. Now, USA has the same options. New solutions will be showed in Japan. This is it!

    As you know, earthquake in Japan is happening frequently. Floating solar panels installation is one of the best solutions for power crisis in Japan. Every year Some typhoons arrive Japan. The typhoon has strong wind. Floating solar power generation system must have constructed to resist typhoons. So you have to reduce vibration to install floating solar power generation system. Because, it can make micro-cracks to floating solar panels and the durability problem of floating solar power generation system. The risk of power loss in PV modules due to micro cracks is increasing.

    Vibrations caused by wind, waves and external forces. New Floating Body Stabilizer for Floating solar panels installation has been created in South Korea. The Floating Body Stabilizers generate drag force immediately when Floating solar panels are being rolled, pitched and yawed on the water. Recently, these Floating Body Stabilizers have been used to reduce vibration of Floating Solar Panels in South Korea. You can watch New Floating Body Stabilizer videos on YouTube. http://youtu.be/O2oys_YHhCc, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA_xFp5ktbU&feature=youtu.be.

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