A new start-up, WindShare LLC, is offering a crowdfunding method for consumers to support the development of community wind projects.
Through WindShare, investors can provide capital to wind developers, which then use the funds to secure land leases and build the projects. In return, WindShare obtains rights to a portion of the energy proceeds, which are used in the returns provided to investors. At the end of the 20-year energy contract, WindShare will buy back WindShares for what was paid, plus a bonus based on S&P 500 performance.
Returns can be withdrawn or left to accumulate. WindShare also pays additional interest on returns based on market performance.
Dan Lemberg, founder and CEO of the company, hatched the idea while he was vacationing in the Caribbean.
“We noticed that despite the abundance of energy sources like wind and solar, which were good enough to power our boat and those around us, the islands still imported large amounts of fossil fuels,” he says. “When I got back to the U.S., I realized many of our local communities are similar. We import our energy at the expense of the economic effect of having local, utility-scale energy production. But many of the community developers were running into finance challenges. I wanted to see if we could fix that.”