The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Solar Mosaic a $2 million grant to help take solar mainstream. The company is building an online crowdfunding platform for Americans to create and fund solar projects. The award comes through the SunShot Initiative.
Department Secretary Steven Chu compared the Sunshot initiative to President Kennedy’s “Moon Shot” challenge to put a man on the moon, catalyzing a nation towards an ambitious and globally important goal. The SunShot goal is to get the cost of solar below $1 a watt by 2020. “Financing is a major part of getting the cost of solar down. There is a huge difference between borrowing at 12% vs. 10% vs. 8%,” Secretary Chu said.
Mosaic will use the grant and its recently raised $2.5 million from venture capitalists to expand and scale their model. Mosaic aims to enable millions of Americans to finance solar projects in communities around the country, creating new jobs and stimulating local economies. By driving down the cost of solar, Mosaic will make it possible for more homeowners, businesses, and community organizations to share in the environmental and financial benefits of solar.
Currently, around 25% of the price of solar installations is due to financing and customer acquisition costs, known as soft costs. Mosaic’s unique online crowdfunding platform will help the SunShot Initiative reduce these soft costs while enabling millions of Americans to own a piece of the growing clean energy economy.
“Our mission is to create shared prosperity through clean energy,” said Mosaic’s President, Billy Parish. “Mosaic is the place where people can create clean energy, local jobs, and make a massive impact together.”
Mosaic also announced that it recently hired Greg Rosen as its new Chief Investment Officer. A 13-year solar finance and project development veteran, Mr. Rosen most recently served as the Vice President for Solar Finance at Union Bank, where he focused on providing debt and tax equity for several commercial and utility-scale solar power projects. Prior to joining Union Bank, Mr. Rosen developed and financed several industry leading solar projects at PowerLight, SunPower, and Helio Micro Utility.
“The solar industry is poised to take the next step in its evolution into a mature industry. Solar equipment costs have come down significantly in the last two years — there is a now huge opportunity to make commensurate reductions in financing costs as well.”
During Mosaic’s first phase, hundreds of people funded more than $350,000 to complete five rooftop solar power plants in California and Arizona. Together, Mosaic’s first five projects created 73kW of clean solar energy, produced over 2,700 job hours for local workers and will also save vital community organizations more than $600,000 on their utility bills.