Mosaic and the Evolution of Clean Energy Investing
From a spark of inspiration drawn from climate activism to our pioneering creation of a solar crowdfunding platform to our evolution towards home solar financing, Mosaic has been on the front lines of renewable energy trends throughout our history.
All the way back in 2002, Mosaic co-founder Billy Parish founded the Energy Action Coalition, a network of student-run activist groups that grew to over 300,000 members. The Coalition’s mission was to drive a shift of power and profits away from fossil fuel companies and towards those building a new clean energy economy that would enable people and the planet to prosper.
At the Coalition’s first national youth climate summit in 2007, Billy and his friend (and Mosaic co-founder) Dan Rosen decided to put this ideal into action by creating a company that not only catalyzes the transition away from fossil fuels but lets everybody profit from renewable energy, not just the big banks and utility companies. That’s how Mosaic was born.
“The Kickstarter for Solar”
Billy announced the founding of Mosaic in a speech at the 2011 Power Shift summit, calling it a response to the question “how can we develop and own our own energy sources?” Mosaic answered this question by creating a platform that rapidly gained attention as “the Kickstarter for solar.” It allowed people to come together to propose and crowdfund solar projects in their communities – for instance, rooftop solar installations on a church or a cultural center.
In 2013, Mosaic began offering shares of its solar projects to the public, with estimated returns of 4.5% or more on investments of as little as $25. Ultimately, Mosaic enabled customers to invest over $10 million in solar projects that have generated over 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity! This crowdfunding model also helped to inspire the rise of today’s community solar industry, which allows people to own or lease a portion of a shared solar installation.
Bringing Solar Investing Home
While the success of these crowdfunded solar projects was encouraging, Mosaic wanted to bring solar investing even closer to home. In 2014, the company began offering residential solar loans, which allow homeowners to go solar for zero money down and save on their electricity bills from day one. While the residential solar sector was growing rapidly with the rise of solar lease-based models, we believed that Mosaic could offer homeowners a better deal and truly empower them by allowing them to own their solar systems outright with loan financing.
Just like owning versus leasing a car or your home, this insight turned out to be correct. A recent study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that going solar with loan financing can save up to 30% more over the long term compared to leasing alternatives. In fact, Mosaic customers in California save an average of $67,000 over the life of their investment! This incredibly appealing value proposition has expanded Mosaic’s reach very quickly, funding over $1 billion in loans to help people go solar as of September 2017.
Going Beyond Solar
Mosaic’s vision of shared clean energy prosperity doesn’t end with solar. That’s why we’ve expanded our financing offerings into two complementary areas: home batteries and energy efficiency upgrades. Adding battery storage to your home gives you more control over how and when you use your solar energy – including backup power in an emergency. And making your home more energy efficient means you get more out of every kilowatt-hour you generate.
It’s been incredibly exciting to see how the renewable energy industry has grown since Mosaic’s founding, and we’re determined to empower homeowners to participate in (and prosper from) this growth every step of the way. Join us.