Crowdfunding could make rooftop solar ownership more affordable

Mosiac crowdfunding could make rooftop solar ownership more affordable

Mosaic’s new partnerships with RGS Energy and Sungage Financial should make it easier for home and business owners to secure affordable financing for rooftop solar installations.

Over the last month Mosaic has announced two new partnerships that will allow qualified investors to get an estimated 5 percent return on 15-year loans to property owners wanting to install solar arrays on their homes or businesses.

The announcements indicate a major shift in the financing landscape and mean that owning rooftop solar systems could become even more affordable than leasing systems through third-party solar providers such as Sunrun, Sungevity and SolarCity.

Mosaic’s new partner programs could stifle growth of those third-party providers. Home and business owners who buy their systems directly get to take advantage of all the tax benefits of installing solar, where those who lease or sign power purchase agreements simply see reductions in their energy bills.

“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 term,” according to a release from Mosaic.

RGS Energy, a solar energy company, and Sungage Financial, a solar loan originator, both have broad customer reaches working with home and business owners who want to buy solar systems. Mosaic has the investor network that can provide a steady stream of affordable financing.

The partnerships seem brilliant and they could be the beginning of a dramatic change in the rooftop solar industry that could seriously drive down the cost of system ownership.

RGS will offer the new Home Solar Loan to California customers starting in the first half of 2014.

Through the Sungage partnership, homeowners in Connecticut will be able to access $5 million in affordable financing. The Hampshire Foundation will fund a special purpose entity created by Connecticut’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, a state bank created to support green business, with $1 million. Mosaic has committed to funding the remaining $4 million through its institutional investors and crowdsourcing.

Sungage will qualify borrowers and make the loans. Mosaic will begin bundling the loans and offering them to its crowd of qualified investors by the second quarter of this year.

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