Umwelt

Green Start-Ups Turn to Crowdfunding

Green Start-Ups Turn to Crowdfunding

Select solar stocks have been on a tear lately. SunPower, First Solar and Elon Musk's SolarCity have had increases of between 60 percent and over 100 percent year-to-date. So for those of you who think you've missed the solar run-up or are searching for a new entry point into the solar space—consider solar crowdfunding. Sites such as Kickstarter have helped amateur artists, small businesses and established filmmakers raise millions for independent projects. Now green-energy start-ups, including solar, have tapped....

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Crowdfunding Could Help Cleantech Attract Institutional Investors

Crowdfunding Could Help Cleantech Attract Institutional Investors

Crowdfunding may be a natural fit for cleantech, where conventional early-stage funding has fallen off. Last year global venture capital flows to the sector plunged 33 percent, to $6.46 billion. When Pi Investments recently lent $200,000 to solar energy projects via Internet crowdfunding platform Mosaic, it saw more than an opportunity to back clean technology. The Chicago-based family office was also keen to “peek under the hood” of a new investment infrastructure, says director of impact investments Aner Ben-Ami. Through crowdfunding outfits like Oakland, California-based Mosaic, small and medium-size U.S. companies can offer debt and soon…

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Academic Researchers look to Crowdfunding Platforms

Academic Researchers look to Crowdfunding Platforms

When a professor from a small liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania decided to take on a massive research project two summers ago, he went through the usual, often futile, process of applying for federal and private grants. But when funds were short a year later, he went down a nontraditional route — turning to the public and the Internet for help. In 50 days, Juniata College’s Chris Grant and his research partner, Gina Lamendella, raised $10,800 through a crowdfunding website called iAMscientist. The money was used to fund an ongoing project on the impacts of…

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Funded Kickstarter campaign continues debate about genetically modified organisms

Funded Kickstarter campaign continues debate about genetically modified organisms

Crowdfunded US biohackers are set to make world’s first deliberate environmental release of a ‘synthetic biology’ organism Who wouldn’t want a flower that can glow in the dark? And what if it were pitched as the coming wave of a sustainable future, in which luminous plants and trees supplant light bulbs and street-lamps? You might even be tempted to buy one, right? At first glance, it’s hard not to be seduced by a new crowd-funded Kickstarter.com project to engineer and circulate glow-in-the-dark plants. Especially when the US company behind it invokes the possibility of turning your living room into the…

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Vermont musicians and artists using crowdfunding to raise money for their projects

Dozens of Vermont musicians and artists have used crowdfunding to raise money for their projects by appealing for donations through the New York City based Website Kickstarter. The site enables people to post information about a project, such as recording a CD or publishing a book. And then they can raise money to pay for the production through small donations. As the popularity of crowdfunding grows, Vermont versions of Kickstarter are cropping up in an effort to attract support for a variety of causes. In the past 3 years more than $1,000,000 has been raised for…

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Crowdfunding Clean Energy

If you wanted to get large numbers of people actively engaged in helping to solve global warming, how might you go about it? For years, the main approach in the environmental movement has been to sound the alarm bell and implore people to consume less, switch to green products, recycle, and speak up to companies and politicians. It hasn’t always been an easy sell. However, if the approach of a promising Oakland-based start-up takes hold, there may be another line of action that could become available to ordinary people: directly financing renewable energy. In January, a…

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How Crowdsourcing Could Save the Department of Energy

In the fall of 2011, the Department of Energy’s Inspector General issued a sobering report calling for a major restructuring of operations. In a stunning revelation, the report showed that 35 percent of the $10.4 billion needed to run DOE’s sixteen national laboratories each year was spent on overhead costs, not research. Recommending a consolidation of lab operations, Inspector General Gregory Friedman called the current situation “unsustainable in the current budget environment.” The report couldn’t have come at a worse time for the DOE. One month earlier, Solyndra had gone bankrupt and the Department was frantically…

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