Friday, 21 August 2015

Guelph Renewable Energy Co-operative's First Project is Online!

The first of two projects by Guelph Renewable Energy Co-operative (GRECo) is now complete! The 110 kWp structure located at 2 Airpark Place in Guelph is up and running.  A second 300 kWp project at 218 Silvercreek Parkway is under construction and expected to be completed later this summer.  We spoke to Evan Ferrari to learn more about GRECo and the projects.

Workers constructing the 110 kWp structure at 2 Airspace Park.
Photo by: Evan Ferrari

Evan has been involved in renewables and conservation since the 1970's when he founded a water-pumping windmill project in Tanzania, Africa.  Since then he has worked for a number of organizations including SolarG Inc, Community Energy Partnerships Program and Windshare in various capacities.  He is currently Executive Director at eMERGE Guelph and the Chair of the Board for Guelph Renewable Energy Co-operative.

GRECo aims to bring ownership opportunities to "frustrated microfitters" as Evan refers to them. These individuals are interested in renewable energy but are unable to invest for any number of reasons - they don't own land or have access to viable rooftops or they don't have the capital invest in projects on their own.  The co-operative structure of GRECo allows these people to become actively and financially involved in the production of renewable energy in their communities.

GRECo works closely with Options for Green Energy, which acts as the development consultant for the co-operative.  GRECo has been working to get these two projects complete for at least 7 years and has been working with Options for the past 5.  It took a lot of people, many years to get these two projects up and running.  Evan and the rest of the board have been meeting twice a week (a meeting with team members from each project) to get the solar developments completed.  All that hard work has finally paid off with the first project being online.

The 300 kWp structure at 218 Silvercreek Parkway
Photo by: Evan Ferrari

Thirty-seven $5,000.00 bonds were sold to raise the $185,000.00 needed for construction to begin on the projects.  Promotion of the bonds was only to members of the co-operative and most individuals purchased one bond.  That way the financial returns from the production on energy on each site is spread to the maximum amount of the people.

The goal of GRECo from the beginning was to get more people financially engaged in the production of renewable energy.  The co-operative now consists of around 200 members and plans to build on the success of the first two projects to expand and to find more land/rooftops to build on.

Green Energy Doors Open

To celebrate the completion and success of the first two projects Guelph Renewable Energy Co-op will be participating in Green Energy Doors Open on October 3rd.  The event will be a chance to celebrate the community ownership and distribution of energy and the widespread access to investment in renewable energy the co-op offers.

We will keep you posted when more details about the celebration become available.  In the meantime check out Green Energy Doors Open's website here:!

To learn more about GRECo and Options for Green Energy visit