Several years ago I installed solar panels on my house. It was an expensive proposition but I really wanted to harness the energy of the sun to power my home. Even with federal and state incentives I had to come up with $12,000 in cash for the installation. There were no inexpensive financing options available back then.
Enter Mosaic. They have created a business model that allows average investors to invest in solar projects in the form of medium term loans, typically nine years. Investors earn their money back as the project generates revenue by selling the solar power. Each project has its own Prospectus and terms. As of this writing there is just one project available for investors (there were two this morning, one was just fully funded) – at the Wildwoods Convention Center in New Jersey.
While this is not true p2p lending obviously, it is probably more accurate to deem it a type of crowdfunding, it is the kind of niche business that I expect to see more of in the future.
Mosaic Opened Today to Investors in California and New York
After signing up for Mosaic several months ago I received an email this morning that they are now open for investors. However, as of today they are only open to investors in California and New York but they are working with the SEC on a nationwide rollout. It will be interesting to see if they can get that done. If you are an accredited investor then you are free to invest from any state. Regardless of what kind of investor you are Mosaic has kept to the p2p lending tradition of a minimum of $25 per project so investors can start out small.
As for the returns, we are not talking about big numbers here – just 4.5% is the typical return for investors. So the target market isn’t your typical p2p lending investor who is looking for returns at least double that number. But there are millions of people in this country who are passionate about alternative energy. It gives these people a chance to earn a decent return while at the same time using their money for something they believe in.
Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of LendIt Fintech, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech. Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series. Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.