Mosaic raises money from average people who can invest as little as $25 each in specific solar projects. The projects yield returns of 4 to 6 percent to investors and provide a more competitive financing rate to solar developers, creating a win, win scenario for everyone involved.
The company has used this kickstarter funding model to finance numerous solar projects all over the country, including 662 kilowatts of solar on a charter school in Colorado, 487 kilowatts on Wildwoods Convention Center in New Jersey and numerous others.
The company’s latest project is a piece of a much bigger solar installation than Mosaic has historically been involved with. It’s currently raising money to help finance the solar installations on military housing at the Dix unit of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.
Trinity Solar is currently installing more than 12 megawatts of solar panels atop the roofs of 547 homes on the military base. The 55,189 solar photovoltaic panels will save each military family an average of 30 percent on their utility bills, according to a release about the project.
The project is employing more than 120 workers on the military base.
The project is huge, much larger than others Mosaic has financed in the past. However, the company is not financing the entire project. It will raise about $500,000 to contribute to the $35 million project, primarily financed by CIT.
The Fort Dix project is only open to accredited investors – usually people with more than $1 million net worth and some investment history – which is the case for a lot of the projects Mosaic crowdfunds.
While the beauty of the crowdfunding idea is that anyone can contribute to a project, the idea of that contribution offering a return is new.
Sites like Kickstarter that allow people to invest in new companies and technologies, don’t provide any avenue for returns. Most investors are simply promised a prototype of the product or some small token of gratitude with the investment being treated largely as a gift. And that’s how Mosaic got its start as well. The company has only been offering solar projects with returns for about a year.
Mosaic has been working with the Securities and Trade Commission to open its crowdfunding projects with returns to more investors. Currently, only California and New York residents investing in California solar projects can participate in the program unless they are accredited investors.
But that hasn’t stopped Mosaic from quickly selling out every project it posts. The company has sold out 75 percent of its projects within a week of posting them and financed $425,000 worth of solar projects in a single day on Aug. 9.