Lately there have been a number of stories about creative financing for clean energy, so this new one about an online investment platform for solar fits right in. The Palmetto Group’s online investment offering differs from the leader in the space, Mosaic, by offering shorter-term investments. It says its solar projects provide secure returns of 6% or greater.
When you visit the Palmetto site, you see “Investment Opportunities” on the homepage. First, you have to sign up and verify your account via email, but after that you can click on an opportunity and see the relevant details.
For example, on the “12 Month Secured Solar Note” page you can see that each note costs $1,000 and at the 12th month 6% interest is to be paid.
This particular project size is 50 kW to 6 MW. A minimum subscription of $5,000 is required. A risk warning is at the bottom of the page that contains some sobering information: “The Notes offered hereby are speculative, and prospective purchasers should be aware that an investment in the Notes involves a high degree of risk. Purchase of the Notes is a suitable investment only for investors of adequate means who can afford to lose the entire amount of their investment.”
Another investment opportunity on the site is for 36 months. The GeoLabs project is located in Braintree, Massachusetts. It is a 100 kW commercial roof-top PV system using 455 Renesol 255 Watt panels. The panels have a 25-year warranty and the system utilizes a Solectria PVI inverter. The maximum to be raised by this offering is $275,000.
One thing that is missing from these investment pages is photo documentation of the project sites. It would help potential investors to see where exactly the solar systems will be installed, where the buildings are located, and who the relevant personnnel are.
In our current era, it is very easy to take many clear informative photos and upload them. To be even more informative, it might help to add video as well, like the kind you see embedded in Kickstarter pages.
It might help to see who is asking for funding in their own voice and to see a clear image of the person’s face. These comments are not at all meant to imply there is any credibility issue, rather that the pages could be enhanced with project images.
Overall, the platform looks promising, because it is providing the ability for investors to back alternative energy projects directly.