The largest solar installer in the US announced Wednesday that it is offering up to $200m in bonds to retail investors, marking the first registered public sale of solar bonds in the country. SolarCity’s landmark move toward crowd funding could democratize the way solar projects are bankrolled and grow overall investment for clean energy.
Large institutional investors (such as Google, Honda and US Bank, in the case of SolarCity projects) finance the bulk of solar projects today. While individual investors can already put money into solar projects via crowdfunding platforms such as Mosaic, SunFunder and Crowdsun.com, most of these opportunities are only available to accredited investors – wealthy individuals – or are limited to just one or a few states, said Tim Newell, SolarCity’s vice president of financial products.
“This is the first time you’re seeing investment offered broadly to American investors through a public offering,” Newell said on a press conference call Tuesday. “In other cases, companies are allowing investors to invest in a single solar project or perhaps a small group of homes or projects.”
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