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Cleantech
Mosaic:
Making Solar Power Accessible for and by the People

To prepare for this year's Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) competition, we're catching up with some of our favorite entrepreneurial ventures from competitions past ...

To prepare for this year's Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) competition, we're catching up with some of our favorite entrepreneurial ventures from competitions past ...

In recent years, the crowdfunding phenomenon has taken the world by storm, breaking Wall Street’s monopoly on finance and making everyone with Internet access a potential investor. Through platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, people on Main Street have raised money to support everything from disaster relief to startup companies.

One area yet to be democratized by crowdfunding is solar energy. Nearly nine out of ten Americans think it is important for the U.S. to develop and use solar energy, according to a Kelton Research poll. However, financial institutions and corporations continue to dominate investments in commercial solar projects.

Enter Mosaic, a company that hopes to change this through a platform allowing individuals to invest as little as $25 in specific solar projects while earning a respectable return.

“Our mission is to create abundant clean energy for and by the people,” Billy Parish, Mosaic’s co-founder and president, said in a Forbes interview. “For too long investing in energy has been a bank-only game.”

Formerly known as Solar Mosaic, the certified B Corporation started out as a kind of “Kickstarter for solar,” allowing individuals to buy “solar tiles” to support community solar projects that have a hard time finding investors. After Congress passed the JOBS Act to allow unaccredited investors to invest in startups, Mosaic changed its name in anticipation of one day expanding beyond solar projects.

The company was a finalist in the 2012 SB Innovation Open (SBIO) competition, where it presented its offering before a group of social and sustainability investors, executives from leading companies and top brand consultants.

“I enjoyed attending the SBIO competition in 2012. I met some good potential partners for Mosaic and was able to build brand exposure for the company,” Parish said in a recent email. “Since SB’12 we have successfully launched our solar investments to the public and have had over 1,000 people invest more than $1.1M into solar projects.”

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