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Back in April, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act), and one of the most heralded elements was so-called crowdfunding. The law sought to solve a major problem: It’s hard to finance small-scale business ventures. Wall Street only cares about multi-million-dollar plays, and securities regulations make small-dollar projects rather difficult (and costly) to jointly fund.

The act could have big implications for community-based renewable energy projects.