Bright idea for students and investors
A solar project at Pinnacle Charter School in Federal Heights isn’t just powering the school, but also giving individuals investment opportunities.
In April the school was equipped with 2,000 solar modules serving almost 65 percent of the school’s electricity needs and saving the school $1.6 million in electricity costs over the lifetime of the project. Recently, with the help of Mosaic, an online marketplace that connects investors with high-quality solar projects, the project offered individuals across the nation the opportunity to invest in the Pinnacle solar project.
Those who invested received a 5.4 percent return.
Billy Parish, Mosaic president said the Pinnacle offering is an opportunity for investors to sidestep Wall Street and directly invest in solar, gaining solid returns and creating real and lasting value.
“We’ve made 100 percent on-time payments to our investors with annual returns at 4.4 to 6.38 percent,” he said. “We’re offering much higher returns 10-year CDs, offering less than 2 percent. Mosaic is a marketplace where investors don’t need to choose between making money and making a positive social and environmental impact.”
The project was financed by Distributed Sun, a commercial solar developer and platform service provider out of Washington D.C. Dan Rosen, Mosaic CEO, said conversations with Distributed Sun representatives began in late 2012 on investment opportunities in the Pinnacle solar project. He said after the project was open to the public for investments it sold out in one week.
“We were thrilled that 427 investors from 19 states were able to invest in the Pinnacle Charter School solar project,” Rosen said. “We’re releasing a new set of projects on our platform next month, so we can give more people the opportunity to invest in solar and earn returns. We hope to continue funding solar on thousands of more schools.”
Investors aren’t the only people benefitting from the project. Come this fall, students at the school will have the opportunity learn about real-time energy savings through monitoring equipment. Pinnacle science program coordinator Michele King said the project is part of the school’s Green Initiative program and STEM curriculum.
“Once the panels are up, we can actually pipeline the data into monitors that we will have in our science lab,” she said.
“The kids will be able to use the data and see how this is actually working. Plus we will have a kiosk in the school and in the event center with real-time data showing how the solar panels are affecting our electric costs.”