By Roy L Hales
One of Mosaic’s defining moments came in January 2013, when they started offering a return on crowdsourcing investments. That enabled small investors to buy into solar projects on the rooftops of schools, apartment buildings, convention centers and other buildings. The Oakland CA based company did $7 million worth of business that year. They now operate in six states. Now Mosaic has reached what it believes is another defining moment. They are joining together with RGS Energy (NasdaqRGSE), a nationwide leader of turnkey solar energy solutions with a 35 year long track record in the industrys, to offer the Mosaic Home Solar loan.
“This new product will allow homeowners to get a crowdsourced loan to go solar for zero dollars up front,” said Mosaic spokesperson Katie Ullmann. “They’ll have a 20-year term to pay of their loan, but can do so earlier and increase their savings.”
“Homeowners gain all the benefits of ownership with the simplicity of a lease, while investors gain access to transparent and tangible investments in the booming home solar market,” added Billy Parish, Mosaic’s president and co-founder.
Mosaic’s crowd funding model has proved itself on 21 projects.
It took them 6 hours to raise the $152,000 needed for Ronald McDonald House in San Diego. Ullmann said, “Those Investors have received 100% on time monthly payments at 4.5% interest.”
Solar on Pinnacle Charter School, one of the largest Charter Schools in Denver, CO, is saving the school $1.6 M in electricity costs (money put towards educational materials) and helping avoid 1,477,082 pounds of CO2 annually.
Residents of Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst military base in Fort Dix, New Jersey, the nation’s first tri-service military base, now live under one the largest solar installations in the nation.
Most analysts expect 2014 to be a golden year for solar.
According to the senior vice president of GTM Research, Shayle Khan,”Residential solar installations grew over 50% in the U.S. in 2013 and continue to boom in 2014. But to date, the majority of those installations have been owned by third parties. The market share of third party ownership has largely leveled off over the past six months, and we expect to see increasing availability and attractiveness of residential solar loan products this year.”
RGS Energy and Mosaic see the potential and in their press release state:
The Mosaic Home Solar Loan is the first of its kind to be integrated seamlessly into the solar sales process and offers a simple online loan application that delivers results in minutes. By combining Mosaic’s innovative web software technology with RGS Energy’s excellent market reach and customer service, the partners look to improve the solar buying experience and increase the number of homeowners going solar.
The financing program is also the first to offer “Choice Payments,” integrating the solar tax credit into the payment process to ensure that monthly payments stay low from day one. Paying little or nothing up front, homeowners will experience all the benefits of home solar ownership, including lower electricity bills, tax credits and — unlike a solar lease or power purchase agreement — free energy after the end of the loan term.
RGS Energy plans to offer the new loan product to California homeowners starting in the first half of 2014. Mosaic will also offer investments in the Home Solar Loans to qualified investors via its online platform at www.joinmosaic.com .
So What makes Mosaic’s loan program different from anyone else’s?
Mosaic’s Home Solar Loan offers zero dollars up front and simple low monthly payments, comparable to most leases. However, unlike the lease, at the end of the loan term, homeowner have increased their home value and get free energy for up to 25 more years.
Here are three other home solar loans, for comparison:
- EnerBank: Higher monthly payments (shorter term), 16.79% if ITC not paid off
- Admirals: Similar to a mortgage application, puts 2nd lien on house
- DCU (Digital Federal Credit Union): Need to have DCU savings account, only available to Sunpower, requires pay stubs
Ullmann says, “We expect this loan product to scale quickly.”