Do you know what the return is on your saving account? Close to nothing. The sharing and crowdsourcing economy is paving the way for more robust methods of investments with real return on many fronts. Mosaic just launched the first online clean energy investment marketplace that connects investors to high quality solar projects. Their mission – “open up clean energy investing and fundamentally change the way energy is financed.”
Here’s how it works:
Mosaic connects investors to solar projects in need of financing. The projects generate revenue by selling the electricity they generate, which allows the investors to get paid back with interest. Through the company, you can pick a solar project that you like, make an investment for as little as $25 and get returns starting at 4.5% annually. The investment isn’t federally insured so there is a risk involved.
With 10 year Treasuries at near historic lows (1.90%), CDs at 0.5% APY, bonds averaging 5.20% from 2003-2012 and stocks in the S&P 500 averaging 4.95% annualized returns from 2003-2012, Mosaic’s expected yields are competitive with the best investment products on the market.
Mosaic launched four projects and opened investing to residents of California and New York on Jan 7, with requests coming in from all over the country to open up the platform. The projects were funded within 24 hours and the company promises more opportunities soon. If there was any doubt that citizens were looking for tangible investments in the cleantech sector, they are all gone now, with the success that Mosaic has seen.
Mosaic sold out its first four projects in less than 24 hours with over 400 investors putting in between $25 and $30,000. In total, investors put in over $313,000 with an average investment of nearly $700.
The fundamentals of solar makes it an attractive component of a diversified investment portfolio: reliable technology, predictable energy output, and stable cash flows. Every Mosaic project is carefully vetted and structured to minimize risk while maximizing benefits to investors and to the planet. Crowdsourcing and the democratized web are helping citizens take financial and energy decisions into their own hands, as now expensive cleantech investments are within the reach of those who would like to invest in it.
“A crucial step toward an authentic democracy is to put clean energy in the hands of the public. Mosaic is a true champion of the people,” said Roland Regos, an investor in Mosaic’s first projects. Another 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. I invested in several projects, the process was easy and it only took a few minutes.”
I am sure citizen investors will not miss looking at pennies worth of interest on their bank statements. In addition to real earnings, crowdsourced clean tech investing hands out an opportunity to deliver impact to the bottom line of the planet, economy and people through lower emissions, job creation and fulfilled communities. Instead of depending on corporate banks of yesterday that helped finance the fossil-fuel era, ordinary investors have spoken with a resounding yes – to a future of clean energy and independent but unified action towards a better tomorrow.