What does a former art gallery director know about selling renewable energy assets? The parallels between the two industries might surprise you, says Legends Solar Co-founder Nera Lerner.
Legends Solar is a startup online solar investing company that allows anyone to buy and sell operating solar panels on commercial solar farms. Prior to co-founding Legends Solar, Ms. Lerner was well known in the art world, working for 7 years as a director of a fine art gallery where she helped iconic artists and institutions navigate the notoriously fickle art market.
Now, Lerner is helping build a different kind of market. Instead of helping art collectors appreciate and realize the value of art, she is helping investors discover renewable energy investing by purchasing operating solar panels.
When a collector enters an art gallery, they have numerous motivations and desires influencing their decision whether or not to ultimately acquire a work.While they of course want to make a wise investment that will appreciate in value, that’s not the only consideration impacting their final purchase.
“Some investors want to support a particular artist or call attention to a genre of work that had been neglected,” noted Lerner. “Others see art collecting as an act of personal expression, cultivating their taste and enhancing their appreciation of human creativity.”
While it may seem counterintuitive, online solar investing with Legends Solar has many of these same attributes. Think of the motivations that have led homeowners to invest in rooftop solar en masse over the past several years.They are attracted to rooftop solar as a great investment that gives rise to significant savings on energy costs as well as it’s qualitative traits. like the amazing product experience that residential rooftop solar investors get to experience when they see in real time the affect that weather is having on their finances.
“In addition to generating a financial return, solar investing can be a statement of values,” Lerner explained. Solar equity owners know that they are doing their part to combat carbon emissions and climate change, as well as other types of emissions. “While art collectors are partons of our culture, many have also taken an active role in stewarding our environment,” said Lerner. “The commune of personal values and tangible goods that meet them is the sweet spot.”
Like fine art, Legends Solar panels are tangible goods. In other words, a panel purchased on Legends actually exists and the investor’s ownership of it is almost as direct as if it were on their very own rooftop. “The transparency of knowing that your investment is a real object, rather than a complex financial security is valuable to clients both in the art and alternative investing markets,” Lerner commented.
Real assets like solar panels are often uncorrelated with broader fluctuations in the financial markets. It can be argued that energy infrastructure has a counter inflationary valence, since high electricity prices reduce risk and can improve performance. (Learn more: Online Solar Investing as a Hedge Against Inflation).
While art can be displayed in an investors home, panels on Legends Solar will be remotely owned. Still, Legends’ investors have a strong sense of connection with their panels. “Because Legends brings its investments to life with interactive real-time monitoring, our clients have a sense of true agency and ownership over their panels. Over time, we plan to add additional features to help cultivate community and celebrate earnings and impact milestones achieved by clients on Legends Solar.”
The design ethic of Legends Solar will appeal to art lovers who not only seek to acquire an investment, but take pride and comfort in their ownership of valuable and unique objects. Nera noted, “While online solar investing is a serious investment, it feels more like a consumer experience. Your panels are accountable to you, you are responsible for the income and impact they generate, and it is all verifiable in real time through our online monitoring platform.”
Legends Solar is now open in beta for accredited investors. In the future, we plan to welcome everyday investors who can buy their first panel for a few hundred dollars.
If you are an accredited investor and are interested in acquiring a solar facility from Legends Solar, contact Nera Lerner at Nera@LetsBeLegends.com.