Sudbury's SUN Solar Co-op plans non-profit solar projects

A group of volunteers is hoping a non-profit model for developing solar energy will find traction in Sudbury.
The SUN Solar Co-op hopes to use the profits from solar projects to fund more renewable energy in Sudbury. (Erik White/CBC)

A group of volunteers is hoping a non-profit model for developing solar energy will find traction in Sudbury. 

The SUN Solar Co-op has partnered with, Soventix Canada, a division of a German solar project developer, to build 10 small solar projects in the city.

The money generated by the electricity would go back into building more green energy projects, said Arik Theijsmeijer, the volunteer president of SUN Solar Co-op.

"We are interested in renewable energy. We see that as the future in terms of an environmentally friendly economy. We want to see opportunities for people to invest in ethical projects in their community," he said.

The SUN Solar Co-op plans to apply for up to 10 green energy contracts with the province. Each solar project would require about 5 acres of land and would produce 500 KW of solar power for 20 years.

Soventix would build the projects and then turn them over to the SUN Solar Co-op to operate. Funding to purchase and install the solar panels will be generated by selling bonds that will provide a return for investors over time, Theijsmeijer said.

"It's also partly about bringing some money back from the stock market and mutual funds that are out there somewhere else in Canada and bringing it back to Sudbury," he said.

The SUN Solar Co-op is now seeking landowners in the city who may be interested in leasing property for solar panels.

Theijsmeijer said the co-op will pay about $5,500 per year to lease the land over the 20 year period of the potential energy contracts.

The land must be near to power lines, be relatively flat, and not heavily treed, he said.

Soventix is already working on solar projects with many other co-ops in Ontario, including Temiskaming, Kingston and Toronto, Theijsmeijer said.


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