Last fall, Conservation ran a story on the innovative company Mosaic and its model for crowdfunding large solar power installations. Individuals can invest small amounts in specific projects, pocketing returns when the new solar array starts producing clean energy (“Solar Power to the People” by Dave Levitan).
Mosaic recently won $1 million through Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award program to help expand solar projects into developing countries. Verizon announced the winners at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January; Mosaic took first place in the sustainability category.
An estimated 1.4 billion people still lack access to electricity. The investment will help Mosaic develop solar in Brazil, India, and sub-Saharan Africa and could allow some regions to leapfrog coal- and gas-generated electricity and go directly to a less polluting power source. Further, to adapt the financing model to developing nations, Mosaic plans to allow project beneficiaries to contribute funds via their cell phones, which are already used for banking in some developing nations.