2014-03-05

Co.Exist

Now Homeowners Can Turn To Crowdinvestors To Fund Rooftop Solar Panels

Mosaic, a solar crowdfunding site for anyone to invest in solar projects, is expanding its marketplace from commercial buildings to residential.

Mosaic, an online marketplace that connects investors and solar projects, has helped energize the cleantech sector with more than $7 million in solar projects funded by the crowd since its launch in 2013. Up until now, however, investments through Mosaic were limited to solar installations on top of commercial buildings. That changed this week with an announcement that Mosaic is teaming up with solar energy company RGS Energy to offer crowdsourced home solar loans.

As with solar leasing programs offered by companies like SolarCity and Sunrun, the Mosaic Home Solar Loan program doesn't require homeowners to pay anything up front for their new solar installations.

"The loan application is all online and homeowners get instant credit results after they enter basic information. When the system is installed, homeowners get immediate savings on their utility bill with no up-front costs. Then customers start making monthly payments that should be smaller than their monthly utility bill savings," Mosaic CEO Billy Parish wrote in an email.

The Mosaic Choice loan, which incorporates solar tax credits directly into payments, is for 20 years with an interest rate of 4.99%. (Homeowners can pay it off early if they choose.) Once the loan is paid back, homeowners get to keep the solar installation with no extra costs. This is different from solar leasing programs, which require customers to either renew their lease or buy the home solar system at the end of their lease term. Solar leasing programs provide free repairs to their installations for the lifetime of the lease; the Mosaic program, in contrast, offers a 10-year warranty through RGS.

Investors on the Mosaic platform can invest in individual rooftop solar systems, though the loans will be anonymized. They can also invest in a variety of rooftop systems to diversify.

Mosaic's home solar loans will be available in California in the first half of the year.

[Image: Sunshine via Shutterstock]

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