Clean Power

Published on April 12th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor


Abundant Clean Energy For & By The People

April 12th, 2013 by  

This post first appeared on Join Mosaic.
By Billy Parish

How do we get to 100% clean energy? At Mosaic, we believe the fastest way is to allow more people to participate in building the clean energy economy.

In the video above, produced by Mosaic’s good friends at Green For All, we lay out our vision for a future of abundant clean energy, for and by the people.

Until recently, there were good reasons why almost all of us were energy consumers, rather than energy producers. We didn’t have good alternatives to fossil fuels and so we were hamstrung: concerned about the environment, our communities, and our childrens’ futures, but unable to do much more than change our light bulbs. We had little choice but to rely on a system in which only the biggest players—those who could blow the top off of a mountain or finance a billion dollar power plant—could profit from the world’s biggest industry.

The last few decades, though, have upended the game. In 35 years, the cost of solar energy has gone from $75 a watt to around .75 cents a watt and Citigroup recently projected .25 cent per watt solar by 2020. Electricity from wind turbines can already beat residential electricity prices in most countries. Combine these advances with developments in information technology, energy storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and other technologies like geothermal and hydro, and it becomes clear that we are living in a new world.

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we are about to host a conference called Pathways to 100% Renewable Energy. I think it’s safe to say that most of the speakers at the conference would never have guessed they’d be talking about 100% renewable energy in 2013.

The whole drift of this transition in our energy system is towards decentralization, flexibility, and resilience. New technologies are doing to energy what the Internet did to telecommunications. Part of the reason wind and solar have spread faster than anyone would have expected is because they are so easy for communities, small businesses, and everyday people to finance and create.

One sunny day last summer, Germany set a world record by meeting half of its noonday electricity needs—the energy equivalent of 20 nuclear power plants running at full capacity—with solar. This is an amazing accomplishment, but more amazing is the fact that major utilities own only 6% of Germany’s clean energy. Individuals and farmers own 51%.

We can do the same thing here in the U.S. In fact, there is no reason we can’t do more. We have more clean energy resources and—more important—a set of ideals that has always been about self-sufficiency and freedom from powerful interests.

We have the technology we need to create abundant clean energy for and by the people. Now it’s time to start breaking down the barriers that keep people from participating. We need to change the laws that prevent communities and individuals from creating their own energy projects, or that make it difficult for them to access government incentive programs. We need to create and scale businesses that make it possible for people to invest in, own, share, lease, and, above all, prosper from clean energy.

Mosaic is one model. Via our platform, we’re making it possible for anyone to invest as little as $25 in financingsolar energy projects all over the country. Our investors create more clean energy and they earn returns on par with the best and safest financial products currently available. We sold out our first public projects in less than 24 hours and now we’re preparing for a big expansion. But Mosaic is just one model and we need many more.

I believe this is the greatest opportunity of our time. Each person with access to the clean energy economy creates not only electrical power, but also political power. Each rooftop solar power plant produces not only 2 KW of clean electricity, but also two clean energy supporting American voters.

How do we get to 100% clean energy? We believe the fastest way is to do what we do best: democratize.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is many, many people. We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people. :D

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  • Just wish they could spread to more states, I’m on their “waiting” list but here in the middle of the country it might be a long time. Yes, I understand SEC filing and state fees cost extra for each state 🙁

    • Agreed. I know it’s a lot of work to expand, and you don’t to spread yourself too thin doing so too early, but it feels like forever sometimes as you wait for these leaders to expand.

  • Howard Stern

    This site asks for social security number, name, and date of birth. As much as this seems like it would be great to support, I am a bit skeptical to give out such information. Thoughts anyone? Thanks

    • Bob_Wallace

      This is an investment, not a donation. The site has to report any earnings to the IRS and needs that information to do so.

      It’s no different than if you were buying a mutual fund on line.

      But it’s always a good idea to be cautious….

      • addicted4444

        Mosaic is only possible because Congress changed their laws allowing crowdfunded investments (there is a reason why Kickstarter companies have to give their donors “gifts” instead of money back…the law did not allow that when Kickstarter was created).

        I am pretty sure SEC rules require such information to be provided.

  • James Wimberley

    “the cost of solar energy has gone from $75 a watt to around .75 cents a watt..”
    Hyperbole. That’s the cost of the modules, without mounting, wiring or inverters. Even in efficient Germany, BOS costs roughly equal the raw price of the modules. It’s unlikely that anyone can beat this ratio; the US will do well to near it.

    • Even with complete installation, it was about $100 per watt about 40 years ago to $2 per watt nowadays, and impressive price reduction by a factor of 50! Compared to oil, that we have subsidized for a total of more than $1 Trillion, the price have gone up by 500% even after adjusting for inflation.

      Solar can power the whole world for a lot less money required if we put our minds and will to do it. We are only utilizing a tiny fraction of a percent of it.

      • James Wimberley

        All the more reason not to spoil a great true story with pointless fictions.

        • Rhodomel

          Not a pointless fiction at all and it was reported here on this site earlier if you are not lazy to search for it.

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