- Community Power refers to the direct participation in, ownership of, and sharing of collective benefits from renewable energy projects, by and for a local community
- Projects may be owned in-part or in-full by co-operatives, First Nations, Métis communities, charities and non-profits, other community groups and/or municipal entities, including schools, health centres, etc.
- It’s a democratic ownership process where local groups are investing in their own communities and using the returns to support their local economy: a win-win-win for the community, individual investors and the province
Community-owned renewable energy projects not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they can also lead to community empowerment, with the potential for innovation in community development, social finance, wealth creation, energy security and energy system co-benefits. Community Power projects provide twice as many local jobs compared to corporately-owned projects.
Every $1 we spend on community power projects results in over $2 in economic activity
Community-owned renewable energy projects generate twice as many jobs
Community-based projects increase grid resiliency and reliability, reducing the need for costly transmission
Community participation increases public support for renewable energy – 78% of Ontarians support Community Power
One of the fastest growing areas of community ownership in Ontario has been the development of renewable energy co-ops. Since the Feed in Tariff (FIT) program was introduced in Ontario, there have been more renewable energy co-ops established in Ontario than all the other co-ops combined. Currently, more than 7,000 Ontarians belong to renewable energy co-ops, a number that is growing steadily as investors seek out stable returns from ethical investments.
Indigenous involvement in renewable energy projects has also had success since the FIT program was introduced in Ontario. The interest has been strong and participation in and leadership on projects is growing with more than 850 MW of wind, solar and hydro projects with First Nation or Métis participation.
With the Community Power model, communities are essentially investing in their own infrastructure and using returns to support their local economy — an environmental and economic win-win.
MW of renewable energy in Ontario with some form of community ownership & participation
Ontarians who have invested in renewable energy co-ops
million invested by community members in renewable energy co-ops
of Ontarians think it is important for Ontario to increase community ownership of renewable energy
Invest in Community Power
Community Power projects allow you to invest your money in the local economy, while helping to grow the renewable energy sector at the same time. There are several renewable energy co-ops across Ontario with varying investment offerings, so you can put your money where your mouth is and earn a decent return.
Renewable Energy Co-ops in Ontario and their rates of return:
ZooShare: 5% annual interest rate over 5 years
SolarShare: 5% annual interest rate over 5 years, OR 6% annual interest rate over 15 years
Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op: 1/15 of your original investment from year 6 to year 20
Community Energy Development Co-op: 6.13% annual interest rate over 5 years, OR 8.10% annual interest rate over 20 years