There’s clearly strong and broad public demand for rooftop solar systems in the US despite fierce, very well-funded opposition in Congress fighting stronger steps to set US energy policy on a firmer, fast track renewable energy path. The latest evidence comes from Oakland, California’s Solar Mosaic, developer of an online crowdfunding platform that enables small individuals to invest in high-quality solar photovoltaic (PV) projects (which debuted yesterday).
The first four solar power projects listed on Mosaic’s online marketplace, sold out in less than 24 hours. More than 400 investors put up amounts ranging from $25 to $30,000 (the average was nearly $700) for a total investment of more than $313,000, Mosaic announced on its blog.
Massive Clean Energy Transition in Sight
More than 700 investors have plowed $1.1 million into Mosaic to finance 12 rooftop solar power arrays in Arizona, California, and New Jersey. This latest batch of four projects were opened to residents of California and New York, as well as accredited investors nationwide.
“We see a massive transition coming from fossil fuels to clean energy, and we think people should be able to profit from that transition,” Mosaic’s President, Billy Parish, commented. “Mosaic is creating the architecture for mass participation in the clean energy economy.”
Among those investing in Mosaic’s earliest projects were Roland Regos and Rosana Francescato. “A crucial step toward an authentic democracy is to put clean energy in the hands of the public,” Regos asserted. Mosaic is a true champion of the people.”
“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,” Francescato added.
Mosaic has one more project open to “accredited investors who meet certain financial suitability requirements.” The requirements include investors with income of more than $200,000 in each of the previous two years, $300,000 in joint income with a spouse with “a reasonable expectation of reaching the same income level this year,” or those with a net worth, excluding equity in a primary residence, of more than $1 million either individually or jointly with a spouse.
“We are thrilled at how the public showed up yesterday,” said Mosaic’s CEO, Dan Rosen. “It’s indicative of a pent-up demand that we are working to meet. People want strong returns and want to know what their money is invested in. Our marketplace allows people to sidestep Wall Street by investing in Main Street.”
That’s a message that shouldn’t be lost on the American public in a period of high economic and job insecurity and a decades-long trend of worsening income, wealth, and social and political inequality.
I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.