According to its founders, the financing model will democratize renewable energy ownership, make communities stronger and more resilient, and help promote a transition to a clean energy economy.
“At its core, Raise Green is a two-sided marketplace that provides people who want to build solar or other types of climate-solution projects with the tools they need to do that and to get it financed,” said Franz Hochstrasser
, ’18 M.E.M., the chief executive officer and co-founder. “We do that by pairing them with individuals who might not have time or interest in originating projects themselves but want to be part of the solution.
“Maybe they have a few hundreds dollars in their savings accounts that they want to put to work to make the world a better place.”
The company, which was co-founded by Matthew Moroney
’18 M.E.M., the chief operating officer, is submitting an application to be a registered crowdfunding intermediary enabled by Regulation Crowdfunding of the Securities Act
. The rules are regulated by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Their first proof-of-concept, New Haven Community Solar
, is currently using crowdfunding to support installation of a solar array on new homes being built for recently homeless people in New Haven. The two-unit homes are being built as part of a partnership between the Yale School of Architecture and Columbus House, a local nonprofit that serves people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
“We really have been taught in the School of Forestry thinking globally but acting locally,” Kwasi Ansu
’18 M.E.M., another co-founder, told the New Haven Independent
. The New Haven Community Solar project, he said, offers “a local avenue with great incentives that people can get behind.”
Ultimately, though, the Raise Green team wants to scale up to provide a menu of options for investors interested in supporting projects that tackle the climate challenge while also improving lives in their local community, including diesel generator replacements and microgrids.
Moroney says the financing model provides a badly needed alternative to public equities markets that have failed to address the urgency of the global climate challenge, and an economic system that leaves too many people out of the process.