Crowdfunding has become a common term in solar financing. Mosaic led the way with this model early in 2013 with their platform that allowed individuals to invest in solar projects. The company has since added home solar loans to its offerings. Its success has paved the way for others to follow suit with similar models.
One of those is solar developer and financier The Palmetto Group, based in Charleston, South Carolina. Last week, the company announced the launch of a new online investment platform, which enables individuals and companies to invest in solar power and other clean energy projects across America using secure, debt-based instruments.
Palmetto’s online investment platform lets accredited individuals invest in solar projects, for secure returns that it says can range from 6% and up.
Palmetto says its offering differs markedly from others in that the investment is put into secure debt-style instruments, and the minimum investment period can be as low as 12 months. Other investments lock up investors’ funds for much longer periods – sometimes five years and more – while paying a lower interest rate and providing less security.
One difference between the Palmetto offering and Mosaic’s is that Mosaic has some opportunities for non-accredited investors to participate, at least in California and New York, for as little as $25. Still, opening up the field to accredited individual investors will add much-needed financing opportunities for solar.
Palmetto believes that gaining direct access to retail investors via their solar-backed loan notes could be a tipping point for the industry, opening up much wider opportunities for solar financing.
Traditionally, only institutional investors, banks, and large organizations have been able to invest in solar projects. Palmetto aims to provide these attractive investment opportunities to all investors, not just institutional clients.
Palmetto also says its platform is simple and easy to use. Accredited investors can go to the Palmetto website, establish an account, and invest directly into solar loan notes. Palmetto’s platform provides a full range of reports and analysis to keep customers updated on the performance of their investments.
Palmetto aims to facilitate the investment of $10 billion in clean energy by 2020.