Clean Power

Published on November 23rd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Sunny Crowd Claims To Be 1st Crowdfunding Platform For Renewable Energy

November 23rd, 2012 by  

I know there are a number of folks working to create cleantech-focused crowdfunding sites, but I’m not sure if any are actually up yet. Sunny Crowd may be the first. Here’s more from Solar Love:

The English translation (from German) of the homepage of says that it is “the first crowdfunding platform for sustainable energy, in which each with a small amount of renewable energy projects can participate online.” I’ll take that to mean that anyone with any size clean energy project can submit a proposal and try to get it crowdfunded. (Yes, for me, clean energy = renewable energy… natural gas, ‘clean’ coal, nuclear, etc not included.)

Further along on the site, there’s the following note: “Each project is reviewed by Sunny Crowd on security, stability, future potential and legality before we present it to our members.”

The folks at Sunny Crowd also note that you can expect a good return on your investment (ROI), which makes sense given that solar and wind power are increasingly the cheapest electricity options around the world, and especially in Germany (where Sunny Crowd is focused/based).

From the looks of it, that’s all there is to know for you. The actual crowdfunding doesn’t seem to be starting yet. We’ll keep our eye on the initiative and see where it goes. I’m certainly excited to get a first look at some of the first projects, and would be more than eager to invest my money into some clean energy projects!

My impression is that the site will include crowdfunding projects beyond Germany, but it’s not entirely clear. I’ll ping the folks over there as soon as I publish this and see if I can get them to let us know of their full plans.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Cindy Nawilis

    Thanks for the heads up! I love that crowdfunding is taking off and making its way to other sectors.

    There are two crowdfunding platforms I know for solar projects that are already up and running: Solar Mosaic ( and SunFunder ( SunFunder solely focuses on solar projects in developing countries, whereas Solar Mosaic focused on solar projects in the US on their piloting period. Currently, Solar Mosaic is currently undergoing a transitional phase so there is no crowdfunding taking place on their website, but SunFunder is crowdfunding for a solar project in Tanzania. They were both featured in a Bloomberg white paper:

    However, it’ll be interesting to see how crowdfunding will do for renewable energy projects other than solar. Solar seems to be a hotter topic (no pun intended) than other renewable energy sources in the news, so I would imagine it’d be tougher to publicize the less popular renewable energy sources and get funding for them.

    • Thanks for the note. Well aware of Solar Mosaic — we’ve covered them several times. Wasn’t aware of SunFunder!

      I think the unique thing with Sunny Crowd is that they are broader than solar, but only focused on renewable energy. Wind is certainly very cost-competitive in many places these days — could see this offering a good boost to wind projects.

      (Solar is definitely the most supported, so probably most worth featuring in promotional materials. :D)

      • Bob_Wallace

        I took a look at SunFunder. From what I can tell it’s not an investment vehicle, any earnings are not passed back to the “investor”.

        What happens is you loan them money, they use it to finance projects, the projects pay back the SunFunder loan with interest, your original money is returned to you, any profits stay with SunFunder.

        Now, if they aren’t “management heavy”, using the earnings for unrealistic salaries/bonuses, but are plowing the earnings back into new project loans that could be a good model. If they can use other people’s money to build a loan fund that is self-supporting then they could do a lot of good.

        But if someone is looking for a way to invest in clean energy projects this does not qualify as an investment.

        Solar Mosaic is designed as an investment. If their projects succeed then one would get back their investment plus earnings.

        With both I’d suggest people look at them as a potential way to do some good with money they can afford to loose and not as a way to invest for retirement.

        • Cindy Nawilis

          I just recently made a loan to SunFunder, and though there hasn’t been any repayment yet, I was made aware of their Impact Points program. It was designed to substitute their current inability to make return payments with interest. There’s more information about the Impact Points on the site’s FAQ section.

          Basically, lenders accrue Impact Points instead of interest, and Impact Points can be used to reinvest in another solar project the same way lenders would with their returned loans. I think it’s a smart alternative to giving interest payments, which is an important incentive for lenders. I can even see Impact Points being used flexibly later down the road for some kind of reward system…credit card reward points is the first thing that comes to mind.

          But with the current set up, I very much agree that both SunFunder and Solar Mosaic are probably not the best way to invest for retirement. Hopefully in the coming years that will change, because I’d love to invest in clean energy projects and make some earning from it!

        • Hmm, interesting.

          Last line: yeah, good tip.

  • “…increasingly the cheapest…”
    Care to elaborate?

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