Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Community Solar

Community Owned Solar Comes To Vancouver

Originally published on the ECOreport.

Three quarters of Denmark’s wind turbines are owned by co-operatives. There are probably more than a thousand clean energy co-operatives in Germany. [1. AEE said 888, with around 140 new co-ops being added per year at the end of 2013.] This idea is newer in British Columbia, but there are already co-operatives in Dawson Creek, Gabriola Island, the Cowichan Valley, and, most recently, the Lower Mainland. Rob Baxter explains how community owned solar comes to Vancouver.


In July 2005, Baxter installed the first city’s grid-tie photovoltaic (electric solar energy) system on the SPEC (Society Promoting Environmental Conservation) Energy Demonstration Centre.

“We’ve been in the business of selling and installing solar for ten years. From the beginning, we’ve always been looking at ways to make it more accessible. Right now you pretty well have to be a building owner and you have to be able to afford the up-front costs. With those community owned model, people who don’t own homes or can’t afford the upfront costs can get involved with a lower entry fee,” he said.

It currently costs $2,000 to become a member of SolShare. Baxter hopes to lower this to the price of a single share ($50) over time, but there are high start-up costs at the beginning. (They were still completing some of the paperwork required by the BC Securities Exchange Commission. )


Paying Dividends

SolShare installed 90 solar panels at Vancouver Cedar Cottage co-housing in June.

“We are starting to accrue revenue from that project. SolShare is paying dividends quarterly, so shareholders should receive their first dividend at the beginning of November,” said Baxter.

He added, “Once we start paying dividends, people will start realizing this is a more viable model.”

Baxter signed a memorandum of understanding with a multi-unit residential building, but they have only just begun construction. He has also spoken with the owners of another 4 or 5 potential projects.

“This year we will probably only do the one project. Our business plan calls for us to do two projects a year over the next five years,” Baxter explained.

He added, “I think there is really an appetite for this kind of investment vehicle, where you can invest in local, ethical projects.”

Learn more at SolShare’s website.

Photo Credits: from the SolShare installation at Vancouver Cedar Cottage co-housing

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

The Vancouver city council has approved a new $10,000 annual fee for gas stations and commercial parking lots that don’t install EV chargers by...

Clean Power

With a recent $3.8-million refinancing of two district geothermal (also referred to as geoexchange) projects in British Columbia, Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) has...


Simplicity is the silver bullet of electric rotorcraft.

Autonomous Vehicles

Policy makers and investors take note: regional air mobility is vastly more scalable, an actual path to a decarbonized future and much lower risk. 

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.