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Published on January 22nd, 2014 | by Adam Johnston

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SolarCity Kickstarts New Financial Solar Venture



SolarCity launched a new program which will allow investors with smaller wallets, community groups, and other institutions to grab a piece of the solar pie. Similar to other crowd sourcing schemes like Solar Mosiac, the company plans to harness the power of the Internet to attract investors of all sizes.

800px-SolarCity_Toyota_Prius_right_side

Image Credit: SolarCit Toyota Prius Car Via WikiCommons

Lyndon Rive, SolarCity CEO said the new initiative allows consumers to take part in clean energy development on the investment side, outside of just putting solar panels on their roof.

“Previously, only institutional investors could participate in the financing of most solar assets,” Rive said. “With our investment platform, we’re hoping to allow far more individuals and smaller organizations to participate in the transformation to a cleaner, more distributed infrastructure.”

Tim Newell, the new SolarCity vice president of financial products, and John Witchell, the companies new senior technology architect, will oversee SolarCity’s new venture. Both have years of technology, renewable energy, and e-commerce experience. This includes working at US Renewables Group, a private equity firm, and E*Offering, an E*Trade affiliate.

“SolarCity’s financial products will provide an exciting new opportunity for people to make an impact—both for their own financial future and our global future—by investing in the shift to solar energy,” Newell said.

Unlike Solar Mosiac, SolarCity plans to offer debt-based investments, backed by its mixed asset portfolio, he said.

Solar Mosicac, which uses a crowdsourcing model, had strong success since last year, selling out its first four projects within 24 hours.

With many banks often hesitant to lend huge amounts of money on solar investments, smaller-scale crowd-sourcing schemes give necessary funding for these ventures. HelioPower’s vice president of business development Tom Millhoff recently echoed those sentiments in the Lost Angeles Times:

…solar developers save money by raising capital from the local community or the environmentally minded. That’s an especially big boost for organizations such as churches, he said, which often have limited resources but loyal members willing to invest in their neighborhood.

Will SolarCity’s new venture into people scaled investing work? While it’s uncertain how it will shake out over the next few months, given the companies track record, don’t be surprised if it’s very successful, especially among community groups, environmentalists and small cap clean tech investors.

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About the Author

A University of Winnipeg graduate who received a three year B.A. with a combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications. Currently attempting to be a freelance social media coordinator. My eventual goal is to be a clean tech policy analyst down the road while I sharpen my skills as a renewable energy writer. Currently working on a book on clean tech and how to relate it to a broader audience. You can follow me on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or at www.adammjohnston.wordpress.com



  • Wayne Williamson

    Like some of the others posting here, I would like to invest in this…the only question is how….

  • Chuck Daniels

    Adam, I enjoyed this brief posting. In general, that’s one thing I like about CleanTechnica posts. They are consistently succinct, so I can quickly ingest the latest information on a number of topics of interest. I tend to have a short attention span.

    However, I must say that there is another consistency about these articles that I do not like. They invariably contain multiple spelling and grammatical errors, including this posting.

    Granted, I verge on the pedantic at times, but I feel the need to point out the misspellings of two business entities that you mentioned in this posting:

    1. “Solar Mosaic” is misspelled in two ways, in multiple places, both as “Solar Mosiac” (at least twice) and “Solar Mosicac”.

    2. “Los Angeles Times” is misspelled as “Lost Angeles Times”. (Perhaps that one was intentional.)

    The one grammatical error I feel compelled to point out is the use of “companies” (plural), where “company’s” (possessive) should be used: “. . . John Witchell, the companies new senior technology architect . . .”.

    I apologize for the more negative tone of this comment, because I do generally enjoy the CleanTechnica content, including this posting, but I would like to see improvements in the editing.

    • Tom G.

      Dear Chuck:

      Good points one and all but it is my belief that the errors you identified go far deeper than just the plurality of the words used. There are probably a combination of factors in play.

      Failure of education system, just a blog article, partial content not a term paper, regional emphasis on technical accuracy or lack thereof, no one available for peer review, inadequate career mentor, and on and on.

      And even technology failure might be partially at fault. Months ago I notified Clean Technica that their spell checker seemed to be broken. Let’s see if it is working today. Yup its working today – well sort of working; LOL

      Spelling of addition or “adition” – spell check did detect.
      Spelling of “help” instead of “helpp” – spell check did NOT detect

      Spelling of “Lost” Angeles {Clean Technica did not detect but Google did since “Lost” is valid word. Google detected the error since it seems to also look at adjacent words.

      It was not until later in my career that the importance of peer reviews and editorial correctness would become important. As an author you must not only be technically correct but you must also be able to express your content verbally and in the writing. If you can’t, some CEO will be having you for lunch so to speak.

      Hopefully the author takes your constructive comments to heart and next time has a friend perform a peer review before publication. I did find the content excellent.

      Good article.

      • Adam Johnston

        Thanks guys for your comments. I will take them into consideration. Thank you. I do read my work out loud to myself. Will do better next time.

  • Jim

    Can’t invest yet, services aren’t rolled out yet

  • Justin M

    Sooooo, How again to we invest into this?

    • Matt

      Yes, scrolled over this twice looking for a link to deatils.

      • Guest

        My thoughts exactly

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