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Will a New Scheme For Clean Energy Investment Break Up the Dirty Energy Stranglehold?

Business  (tags: americans, business, consumers, economy, energy, Entrepreneurs, ethics, finance, greenbuilding, investments, labor, marketing, money, politics, SustainableDevelopment, world )

- 1922 days ago -
A new project allows regular folks -- not just wealthy investors -- to fund renewable energy resources.

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Kit B (276)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 1:35 pm
(Photo Credit: Winter)

Investing in clean energy is crucial for the environment and profitable — but now it’s also affordable. On Monday, Mosaic, an online marketplace connecting investors to solar energy projects, began accepting investments. Residents of California and New York — two states in which regulators have given their approval — were able to invest in these projects for as little as $25. Mosaic stated that in less than 24 hours, more than 400 investors put in between $25 and $30,000, selling out the company’s first three projects. Investors contributed more than $313,000 to these projects, with the average investment being $700.

“On Monday, hundreds of people became green energy investors — became literally invested in building a clean energy future,” said Billy Parish, Mosaic’s co-founder and president. “And we got a lot of people investing $25 and that’s amazing.”

In a press release, investor Rosana Francescato said, “Mosaic is lowering the barrier for regular people like me -- not just rich investors or big companies -- to benefit from solar power while providing a good return on investment. I invested in several projects, the process was easy and it only took a few minutes.”

Parish said they are working with regulators in other states to expand the opportunity for the nation’s public to fund these solar energy projects. Meanwhile, accredited investors in all 50 states are allowed to fund these projects. An accredited investor is defined as someone who made more than $200,000 in the last two years, $300,000 with a spouse, or has a net worth, individually or jointly, of $1 million.

Parish said he believes Mosaic’s success is due to a prolonged eagerness to invest in clean energy.

“I think there’s a lot of pent up demand,” he said. “Energy investing has been a bank-only game for a long time.”

While Mosaic is allowing community members with varying wealth to invest, their current projects are also community focused, including affordable housing complexes and community centers.

In a commentary in Grist,’s Bill McKibben wrote:

Building community is at least as important as building solar panels. If we can do both at the same time, we’ve got a fighting shot at a workable planet.

Mosaic receives projects from solar developers who need financing. The company then allows people to invest in the project. The revenues generated by selling the clean electricity to customers are then used to pay back investors. Investors are expected to see a 4.5% - 6.38% annual yield.

The idea to start Mosaic commenced when Parish and co-founder and CEO Dan Rosen were working with Native American tribes to develop and own their own renewable energy resources. Parish said he saw tribes, which represent only 5 percent of landmass, owning about 10 percent of renewable resources.

“We realized that at the core of what we were doing was an even simpler idea — that all of us should be able to develop and own renewable energy resources. All of us should be able to be part of the transition to clean energy,” Parish said.

Parish, who is the co-author of Making Good, a book about making money while doing good, said this concept is his one of his favorite parts of Mosaic’s work.

“For people who have been donating to environmental issues and are trying to live a more green lifestyle, there’s been a big disconnect for a lot of those people on their investment portfolios,” he said. “A lot of those people are invested in oil companies or coal companies. … And I think a lot of people want to align their investments with their values.”

McKibben concurs. “We actually have to engage everyone in this world in this fight, and some of them really like money. And it is going to take money to put up all those solar panels and so forth,” McKibben said. “I'd far rather that money come from a broad wide community than from a few rich guys like Warren Buffett,” who invested $2 billion in two solar power plants last week.

Parish said people’s value proposition “starts with making money, but it also involves creating good jobs, helping organizations save money, creating stronger communities, and reducing carbon emissions all at the same time.”
****check links within body of article at VISIT SITE ****

Alyssa Figueroa is an editorial fellow at AlterNet

JL A (281)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 1:40 pm
Thanks for posting this Kit. (There was a less thorough article that didn't get many notes posted a few days ago I discovered when I went to post one--so I hope this one gets front page attention). It the government and Wall Street and banks will not support what is best for America, then a model that allows the general public to bypass those that are supposed to be doing this activity for the country to join together to do it independent of those acting against the interests of the country. I encourage anyone with funds available for investments to check out this option (in conjunction with their usual financial advisersd)

pam w (139)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 4:58 pm
"Building community is at least as important as building solar panels"

+++++++++++ And there's the key! We MUST have buy-in from the nation at every level of our society!

Thanks, Kit.

Ana Passos (2)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 5:18 pm

Kit B (276)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 7:16 pm

Oh fiddle - I can't send any green stars. I have already moved some investments around. Though some money in OIL and GAS makes money it hardly keeps me honest, and divesting all gun manufacturers is also done.

Tim C (2420)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 7:27 pm
Thanks Kit.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 8:17 pm
One of the greatest advancements in a long time I suppose, sounds fantastic! That's right, JL, if those who SHOULD won't do the right thing, then you the people must do it and fortunately now you can! And good on Mr Buffett ! Thx Kit, great article and hopefully that headline will soon turn into a statement rather than a question.

Angelika R (143)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 8:20 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.
(your comment appeared only now) GOOD ON YOU!

Faye S (23)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 2:01 am
Noted - thank you, Kit! Stars sent on your behalf and mine!

Scott haakon (4)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 7:04 pm
There is fantasy and then there is the truth as it is today. "clean energy" has drawbacks as does anything else. At this time in history it will be years before any of the current technologies if ever become enough to meet the energy needs of the future. There is however plenty of oil and coal and natural gas. There is methane that can be produced. Some are good for certain types of energy production. But none are mature. We would be very poorly advised that any of the so called "clean" energy is ready for "primetime".
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