After starting 2013 with a bang Mosaic looks to keep it going with another crowdfunded project. This time it’s 6 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) farms being built by Pristine Sun, LLC, in California. The projects are being built out as part of Pristine Sun's 250 megawatt portfolio of mid-to-late-stage California small utility solar projects.
Pristine was originally backed by a $24 billion private equity fund. It has a 2 gigawatt solar project pipeline with 750 MW of projects under active development and plans to have $1 billion of solar assets by 2015, the company said. In this case, the contracts for the six solar farms will provide power to Pacific Gas & Electric’s customers. "Pristine Sun has one of the more extensive small utility scale solar PV portfolios in the country that I'm aware of. We are very pleased to be their lender of choice for these of projects and hope to continue funding additional such projects with Pristine Sun going forward," said Greg Rosen, Mosaic's Chief Investment Officer.
Under the agreement with Mosaic, the companies will fund the construction of the projects through crowdsourcing or crowdfunding, which, like Kickstarter, allows individuals to invest in the projects more directly than other conventional means. "Crowdfunding provides a new kind of platform to democratize the benefits of clean energy and let more people participate in renewable asset investing,” said Jason Jackson, COO of Pristine Sun.
Mosaic made headlines earlier this year when it offered its first three return-on-investment solar projects to the public. All three sold out in under a day, netting $300,000 to support the projects. The strategy has garnered a lot of recent attention including a New York Times piece this week. The strategy is akin to a bond offering wherein a person can invest in the project and expect a long-term return on the investment. “With Mosaic's detailed project prospectuses and easy-to-use website, we have confidence in their strategy. With Pristine Sun's proven high yield solar farms, low risk utilities as off-takers, and local residents benefiting from localized generation and increased grid stability, we are excited to have the ability to help monetize and support much needed environmental stewardship," Jackson said.
"We are excited to support the innovative crowdfunding model of a well-funded, well managed private lender like Mosaic. We have choices when it comes to permanent debt,…Mosaic has been a pleasure to work with, and they offer reasonable loan terms,” said Pristine CEO Troy Helming. “Transaction costs, as well as costly, lengthy and often over-burdensome due diligence, can destroy significant value in small projects that comprise our niche market. Therefore, Mosaic's fair and straightforward approach is a perfect fit for us, and we hope to announce additional debt financing agreements with Mosaic for some of our additional 30 MW of projects that will start construction this year," he said.
Mosaic has also partnered with some heavy hitters this year to support the unique financing model when they created the truSolar working group. The group is attempting to make it easier for investors to understand the benefits of solar projects to maintain high-quality standards while reducing the time that it takes to bring solar projects to investors, thereby helping bring the costs of financing down. Standard & Poor's, DuPont and Distributed Sun are among Mosaic’s partners in the effort.