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Mosaic's latest crowdfunding project lets you invest in the military

Posting in Energy
Mosaic, the California startup that allows the public to invest in solar projects, is now letting folks put their money into a military solar installation.

People can invest—and then receive a return—in a 12.3-megawatt solar photvoltaic installation project across 547 homes at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

The solar installations will meet 30 percent of each household's electricity needs and help the Department of Defense meet its renewable energy goals. The DoD has committed to a goal of deploying three gigawatts of renewable energy on Army, Navy and Air Force installations by 2025—enough to power 750,000 homes.

Investors in this project will be paid through a power purchase agreement, or PPA, with housing developer United Communities. People can invest as little as $25 in the project. Investors will earn estimated net returns at a variable interest rate of LIBOR plus 2.25 percent annually for the first four years. It rises to one month LiBOR plus 2.5 percent in the final three years of the seven-year term.

In January, Mosaic started a crowdfunding campaign that allowed folks to invest as little as $25 in four rooftop solar projects. Within 24 hours, the solar projects were fully funded, a success that illustrated the public’s willingness to invest in solar and use alternative funding models.

More than 400 investors put in between $25 and $30,000 into those projects, raising a total of $313,000. The solar projects were open to residents in California and New York as well as accredited investors from around the United States.

Mosaic is able to provide returns to its investors because rooftop solar systems generate revenue. The money raised by investors is used to install the solar panels on a building. Mosaic sells power to the building owner through a long-term lease. Revenue generated from selling solar electricity to the building owner is used to pay back investors with interest.

Photo of solar panel installation project by Department of Defense

— By on October 1, 2013, 8:27 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure