Crowdfunding for Clean Energy Launches in Oakland

Unique Partnership to Bring Clean Energy to Urban Areas

For Immediate Release:  4/15, 2011
Contact: Abel Habtegeorgis
Media Relations Manager
(510) 428-3939 x232
abel@ellabakercenter.org

April 15, 2011, Washington, DC -- A groundbreaking partnership of community and business leaders will bring solar power and jobs to Oakland, CA. Solar Mosaic Oakland will bring clean energy to the city with an innovative twist: crowdfunding of local solar projects.

Solar Mosaic Oakland is a partnership between The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Solar Mosaic, Rebuild the Dream and other strategic partners including Sungevity and Solar for All, to create a new model that accelerates the adoption of renewable energy the across the nation, while creating jobs for local residents. Solar Mosaic Oakland will break ground in summer 2011, when members of the media and public can join community members, local leaders, and a soon-to-be-unveiled celebrity sponsor will be in Oakland for the historic first installation.

“Community solar is an exciting new model for Oakland that addresses unemployment and the need for green energy at the same time,” shared Jakada Imani, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center. “Not only will solar help local community centers and public schools reduce their energy costs, but Solar Mosaic Oakland will give people much-needed jobs and build the local green economy. This project is a win-win for Oakland.”

Van Jones’ official announcement of this new initiative -- a pilot program for national replication -- will be made at PowerShift 2011 in Washington D.C. in front of more than 10,000 youth leaders from across the country.

While solar installations and energy efficiency upgrades are nothing new to the Bay Area, Solar Mosaic Oakland will utilize a completely new method of financing. Instead of borrowing capital from a bank and incurring the expense of interest payments, Oakland will be one of the first cities to engage in a city-wide campaign to bring more clean energy online through crowdfunding. By purchasing “Solar Tiles” in the larger “Solar Mosaic”, individuals can work together to create the solar revolution.

The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Rebuild the Dream have secured a generous anchor gift from a celebrity donor that amplifies the revolution with a challenge grant: a 1-for-1 match for community-raised funds, up to $250,000.

By raising a total $500,000 in funds, Solar Mosaic Oakland will install 140kW of solar power on seven community buildings in Oakland. The project will create 2,240 local job hours, prevent 4.6 million pounds of coal from having to be burned, provide long-term utility cost savings for budget-strapped local non-profits, and showcase a model for cities around the world to follow. Program partners plan to raise additional funds to expand the project far beyond the first seven rooftops.

“Now, for the first time, there’s a way for every person in the country to ‘go solar’ by buying tiles in a community solar project.” remarked Billy Parish, President of Solar Mosaic. “This a model that can spread across Oakland, and then across the nation.”

Sungevity's founder, Danny Kennedy, said, "Sungevity is excited to support this initiative which fulfills our vision of creating SFUN [Solar For Universal Need]. Our unique iQuote technology, which allows us to streamline and simplify the process of going solar for our customers, will allow us to identify which roofs are the best for rolling out community solar projects throughout Oakland. We’re excited to be part of this great partnership.”

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About Ella Baker Center for Human Rights: The Ella Baker Center is named for an unsung hero of the civil rights movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders. We build on her legacy by giving people opportunities and skills to work together to strengthen our communities so that all of us can thrive.

About Solar Mosaic: Solar Mosaic’s mission is to create prosperity through clean-energy. We do this through a fun, web-based platform which anyone can use to develop community-scale solar projects and finance them from their local community and online.

About Rebuild The Dream: Rebuild the Dream is a national initiative founded by Van Jones dedicated to restoring the American Dream and Dr. King’s dream – prosperity and opportunity for all. Rebuild The Dream ignites highly inventive solutions designed to put America back to work – and pull America back together.

About Sungevity: Oakland based Sungevity is a national leader in residential solar. Any referrals that come from Solar Mosaic Oakland will generate a donation to the initiative to get more community solar on roofs in Oakland.

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