For the past 15 years, Bruce Ledesma has been working with either solar or financial services. As Executive Vice President and General Counsel of SunPower Corporation, he oversaw that company’s growth from $250 million to $2.5 billion in annual revenues. That was his greatest professional experience to date. Today, former SunPower VP Bruce Ledesma is now Mosaic’s COO.
He explained why in three words: Mosaic’s Business Model.
“Mosaic is participating in the highly disruptive space of peer-to-peer lending, which is experiencing tremendous growth in the U.S. right now,” he explained. “And it’s bringing that business model to solar, another high growth industry. Mosaic is therefore at the intersection of two rapidly expanding market opportunities, which bodes well for our success.”
Ledesma believes the market is about to shift. For the past few years, most homeowners have been leasing solar systems.
“One of the reasons, is that the strung out payments over 20 years drove down the monthly payment requirement,” said Ledesma.
This has made it possible to get a systems for less than what conventional electricity costs, but solar leases do not enable ownership.
“Mosaic is offering a twenty year loan, with payments on par with the lease, and once the loan is paid off homeowners get free electricity.”
Another advantage that people leasing their systems previously enjoyed was service, but Mosaic is now offering a comparative service package through its partnership with Enphase Energy.
“There are no other advantages left for leasing,” Ledesma said.
In a recent poll of 1,000 homeowners, 62% said they would prefer to obtain their solar panels through a loan rather than a lease. This became 8 to 1 if service was added to the loan package. (Now you know why Mosaic partnered with Enphase!)
100,000 Americans have been able to acquire solar through leases, but now some are finding this a hindrance when it comes to selling their homes. Would-be buyers do not always understand or want the long-term obligation. Someone selling in Arizona had to drop his price 10% last month, because of the solar lease. Another homeowner, in California, agreed to go down $10,000.
Ironically, solar panels when owned — through a loan like Mosaic’s, or cash purchase — actually increase the value of a home.
A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that a 3,100 watt PV solar array can bring in an additional $17,000 when it comes time to sell.
As a result, third party ownership of solar arrays is expected to peak this year.
Though there will always be people who prefer leases, Bruce Ledesma believes that the real future of solar financing is with loans.
“My background has focused on helping businesses transition from the point of initial commercialization of a product to scaling to a billion in revenue,” he said. “Mosaic has developed the best solar loan products available and now has the technology platform to quickly process high loan volumes. This is exactly the right time for me to join the team.”The cost of a system is continuing to come down. It has dropped 60% in the past five years.
Soon there will be no need for incentives and Mosaic’s peer-to-peer solar model is resilient to this.
Ledesma believes solar will become America’s primary energy source and Mosaic will be a driving force in this.
He is the latest of Mosaic’s additions from other prominent solar companies. Mosaic’s new Controller, Lara Perloff, used to be Sunrun’s Fund Manager. Mosaic’s Director of Sales, Ken Hutchins, ran the National Residential Sales Training for SunPower and prior to that worked for Verengo.
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