Mosaic, an online crowdfunding marketplace that enables everyone to invest in solar projects, sold out its first four projects in less than 24 hours.
More than 400 people invested between $25 and $30,000, for a total of $313,000 that will fund solar projects on affordable housing buildings in New York and California.
Investors get an annual return of 4.5% with terms of about nine years. Considering the historically low returns of 10 year Treasuries at 1.9% and CDs at 0.5% APY, the yields are competitive with most investments available on the market.
Bonds average 5.2% from 2003-2012 and S&P 500 stocks average 4.95% annualized returns from 2003-2012.
So far, Mosaic has raised $1.1 million from about 700 investors that will finance 12 rooftop solar systems in California, Arizona and New Jersey.
"A crucial step toward an authentic democracy is to put clean energy in the hands of the public," says one of the invetors, Roland Regos.
Though the SEC has not yet adopted rules implementing the crowdfunding provisions of the JOBS Act, Mosaic is pursuing other avenues for crowdfunding clean energy ahead of the adoption of final rules. As President Obama said after signing the JOBS Act in April 2012, "For the first time, ordinary Americans will be able to go online and invest in entrepreneurs that they believe in."
In June, Mosaic raised $2.5 million in venture capital. Its goal is to finance community solar projects without having to get financing from banks, while allowing everyone to profit from investing in solar energy.
Learn more about crowdfunding and how it can benefit renewable energy: