Billy Parish

15 January 2013 — Want to invest in solar power for an affordable housing complex or a youth employment partnership in California, or perhaps the Murdoch Community Centre in Arizona?

Well, you can’t. They’re already fully funded by investors keen to take part in Solar Mosaic.

But there are plenty more projects on offer. Well, that is if you live in New York, California or are an “accredited investor” in another American state.

Solar Mosaics founder Billy Parish, of Energy Action Coalition fame, started the company, which sees investors paying to have solar panels put up on a grand scale with the revenue from the solar energy customers used to pay back the investment with interest.

In Grist, Bill McKibben writes that he first met Parish when he had just dropped out of Yale.

“Not because he couldn’t hack it. Because he didn’t think it was as important as fighting climate change,” McKibben writes.

“And so he built the Energy Action Coalition, the nationwide student mobilisation against global warming.

“And he built it in a particular way, as a coalition of like-minded groups on hundreds of campuses — he was charismatic, but he put his charisma to use helping to leverage many disparate voices into one force.”

McKibben says as Parish got older he looked for other ways to stop global warming and “a way for communities to work together”.

“Right now the student movement that Billy Parish helped spark has grown to epic proportions — on 192 campuses students are demanding that their boards of trustees divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies.

“If they succeed, it will help a good deal, for we need ways to reduce the political power of those companies who are holding back the future.

“And it will help even more if they take those funds and put them into projects like Billy Parish’s — actuarially sound, ecologically sound, and spiritually sound.

“Building community is at least as important as building solar panels. If we can do both at the same time, we’ve got a fighting shot at a workable planet.”

Read the full story here.