Earlier this year I wrote about Energy In Common, a cool new company that combines microloans with environmentalism, funding the purchase of renewable energy systems by people in the developing world. I made a $25 investment in solar panels purchased by Edna Mganga, a restaurant owner with less than reliable electricity. Her $1,085 panels will allow her to have power in outages and she'll save money on her energy bill. My loan will be paid back within a year.

Energy In Common's CEO Hugh Whalan thinks more people would make micoloans if they were, well, more micro. His new venture, Nanoloans, is pitched as "microloaning for beginners" and is a limited time project to help people in Ghana buy solar lanterns, saving them the expense of buying oil or kerosene and the associated smoke.

Right now seven of the 10 projects are still looking for funding. You can lend as little as $5 towards the total cost of ~$45 per lantern and you get paid back in two months. If you've never made a microloan before, you should click over to Nanoloans and consider giving it a go. While you're in the clicking and lending mood, also check out Energy In Common, where you can find larger projects with longer payback periods.

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Small is big: Nanoloans.org makes tiny green microloans
Nanoloans.org is a new venture from green micro lender Energy in Common that makes micro loans even smaller.