In the last few years peer to peer lending and crowdfunding have blossomed. While it's great to crowdfund the latest cool product that lets you cut down on using plastic or turns your regular bike into e-bike, it's infinitely cooler to crowdfund the shift to renewable energy.
Mosaic calls itself an online marketplace for solar. Basically the company provides debt financing to solar projects and lets individual and institutional investors buy shares in a project until it is funded. When projects are complete, the company sells power to a solar customer via a long-term contract, and shares returns of approximately 4.4 - 6.36% with its investors. Investment capital is paid back along with the interest over a 5 - 10 year period.
Once a new user sets up a Mosaic account and finds a qualified project to invest in, Mosaic will add $25 to the amount invested.
Mosaic spokesperson Katie Ullmann said she views the incentive like a free pack of seeds, in that once a new user invests in a solar project, the seeds yield long-term environmental benefits as well as financial rewards to the recipient.
A new investor can add to their account and buy into other project offerings, or simply take their dividends in the form of a check from Mosaic.
The company, which launched in 2011, now has 2,600 investors putting their cash to work in $5.6 million of solar projects. Mosaic projects tend to fund very quickly, Ullman said, with some solar installations getting funded in just 24 hours. Investors must be over 18, and Mosaic said, current investors tend to be males with an average age of 41, an average account value of $2,100 and a strong interest in personal finance.
Depending on what state an investor lives in certain restrictions can apply, and can limit the kind of projects available for investment. In Oregon, for example, potential investors pledge to not invest more than 10% of their personal net worth in Mosaic projects.
Ullmann said starting tomorrow Mosaic will also offer gift cards for the $25 incentive that can be used as stocking stuffers.