Friday, January 11, 2013

Crowded crowd-funding for solar projects

On Monday, Mosaic announced it would do the first-ever crowd-funding of solar projects, with a $25 minimum investment.  Yesterday I tried to buy in myself but their four new projects are fully funded.  They look like they might be having the same problem that Kiva used to have - more money than projects (it also seems like a different model than Kiva, the money goes directly to the projects rather than paying for a general fund).

Crowd-funding seems like a good way to get micro-investors involved in startups that would otherwise be impossible, to open up a new source of money for investment, to fund smaller projects that are too small for traditional investors, and to fund entirely new and different ventures that venture capital funders find uninteresting.  My impression is that Mosaic serves all but that last interest.  Obviously no one knows if it's going to succeed but it's just as obviously worth a try.  Maybe eco-grandparents will start buying Junior shares in solar projects instead of a stock as a college investment.

The other advantage is for people who want to do something renewable but can't do it on their own property.  Our townhouse has a small roof facing east/west with shading on the east - not an ideal place for solar.  Mosaic might be a better use of money to offset our emissions, and as an offset that others can use.