Crowd-sourced solar investment allows ‘mass participation’ in clean-tech financing

By Ben Willis - 09 January 2013 -

A new online marketplace that crowd-sources investment for solar schemes in the US has sold out four projects in less than 24 hours.

The scheme's archtiects, California-based Mosaic, said the model offered the promise of mass public participation in the financing of renewable energy projects.

Mosaic raised over US$313,000 for four projects in California and New York, attracting investments of between $25 and $30,000 from more than 400 individuals.

Mosaic’s President Billy Parish said the financing model offered small-scale investors the opportunity to profit from the burgeoning public interest in renewable energy.

"We see a massive transition coming from fossil fuels to clean energy, and we think people should be able to profit from that transition. Mosaic is creating the architecture for mass participation in the clean energy economy,” Parish said.

To date Mosaic has raised over US$1 million from more than 700 investors to finance 12 rooftop solar projects in California, Arizona and New Jersey.

Mosaic’s first investment offerings for New York and California residents are in solar projects on affordable housing apartments for low-income residents in California and offer a 4.5% annual return.

One Mosaic investor, Rosana Francescato, said: “Mosaic is lowering the barrier for regular people like me – not just rich investors or big companies – to benefit from solar power while providing a good return on investment.”