Startup promises hassle-free solar ownership for anyone

Solar PV array
CC BY 2.0 David Goehring

You won't need space on your roof for a solar array – or a lot of extra cash – to invest in solar energy with CloudSolar.

Investing in solar could get a whole lot easier, and a whole lot more affordable, once this solar startup launches because it removes several of the barriers to wider adoption of this clean energy source.

Many of us who advocate for getting more solar power on the grid aren't necessarily going solar ourselves right now; and while we all might have reasons of our own for that, several of the most common ones may soon not really be an issue at all anymore if CloudSolar gets enough traction.

The economics of residential solar are getting better and better every day, but there are still a few barriers for many of us. Some of us who might have the money to go solar may either lack the space for rooftop solar panels, or don't have ownership of the roof, such as those who live in multi-unit buildings. And some of us who do have ownership of our roof, and do have the space, don't have the capital or credit to finance a full solar array.

One answer to making solar energy more accessible, and making solar investment easier than ever, might come from CloudSolar's unique model, where anyone can buy into solar for as little as $50 USD. The company aims to "revolutionize the solar industry" by allowing people to have ownership of their own solar panels, and enjoy the financial and environmental benefits from them, while CloudSolar takes care of everything else. Literally everything else.

Customers purchase solar panels, as few or as many as they want, through CloudSolar, which will install the panels at their solar farms. The company then sells the electricity from the panels and sends each owner a monthly check for the energy produced from them, while also handling any maintenance or repair over the 25-year life of the panels. And for those of us who will also want to know the details of the electricity generated from those panels, CloudSolar will update each account daily with that data, allowing customers to monitor their solar investment via smartphone or computer.

CloudSolar customers retain ownership of their solar panels, and can transfer them to another person if desired, or can opt to sell them after the first five years. At the end of the original 25-year contract, customers can choose to either renew it or to sell the panels back to the company, which will offer fair market value for them.

The company, which hasn't yet launched its offerings to the public, is a 2014 VIP Resident Venture at Harvard University Innovation LAB, and is described as offering "A superior model to community solar that unleashes solar energy for every business and family in the world."

Anyone who is interested in being a part of this solar investment revolution can sign up at the website to be notified when it launches.

UPDATE [March 4, 2015]: CloudSolar launched an Indiegogo Campaign.

Tags: Renewable Energy | Solar Energy

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