Last week, Mosaic’s online platform for crowdfunding solar projects went live. Within 24 hours the first group of four public solar projects had sold out.
Mosaic’s platform is an online marketplace that connects investors with new solar projects. Its latest projects were available to residents of California and New York, as well as to accredited investors across the United States.
Mosaic reports that over 400 investors put in between $25 and $30,000. In all, “investors put in over $313,000 with an average investment of nearly $700.” After the 24 hours, Mosaic had one project remaining that was only for accredited investors. Mosaic says it has so far raised $1.1 million from over 700 investors, financing 12 rooftop solar power projects in California, Arizona, and New Jersey.
Last year, the U.S. Congress signed into law the Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which will allow unaccredited investors to make equity investments in startup businesses via crowdfunding platforms such as this. The JOBS act was notable for its increasingly unusual bipartisan approval in Congress.
However, the Securities and Exchange Commission has not been quick to fully implement the new law. Currently, Mosaic is having to work through regulators in states to open up its crowdfunding service to unaccredited investors. California and New York have so far come to the party, with accredited investors from other states allowed to participate as well. Unsurprisingly, Mosaic says it’s keen to see the JOBS act move forward, but says it doesn’t need it to continue to run the business in the meantime. The company has also vowed to carry out strict due diligence on projects, and to seek out relatively low-risk, high-quality projects for investors.
I have to say, to my mind the prospect of combining renewable energy projects with crowdfunding is an exciting one. With this, there is the potential to disrupt both energy and finance – two of the worlds major industries – using another majorly disruptive force to do facilitiate it: the Internet. What could be more 21st Century than this turn of events?