Alternative Energy: Ushering the New Era of Corporate Governance?

Over at the MoJo blog, David Corn highlights the symbolic statement President Obama made Tuesday afternoon when he signed the stimulus package into law at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

The museum draws its power from solar panels, installed by Namaste Solar Electric, a small, progressively minded company based in Boulder, Colo. But the most intriguing thing about Namaste isn’t that the president signed the stimulus package, which includes billions for renewable energy, under a roof lined with the company’s product.

What intrigues me most about Namaste is the business structure that governs the company: Namaste is employee-owned, with every employee given the chance to purchase a stake in ownership, and each owner receiving the same salary and power in decision-making.

Cynics might call it socialism masked as capitalism. But the company is about making money, and one benefit of giving everyone an equal stake—and salary—in the company is that the employee pool would by nature include only those most passionate about the company’s mission. The business model is exciting, and the fact that Namaste’s president, Blake Jones, was present at the signing shows the Obama Administration approves of the company’s mission. If the model catches on, it could transform the way renewable-energy start-ups govern themselves. But I do have two questions: Is there a point where too many employee-owners will bog down the decision-making process? And can those smaller companies sustain the growth the stimulus package, with its billions for the renewable-energy sector, will create?


We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.