New farmer-owned solar energy company launched
RIDGETOWN, ON — A new dynamic community based, farmer-owned solar energy company located in southwestern Ontario was announced last week, called AGRIS Solar Co-operative.
This new solar energy co-operative will operate in partnership with Spark Solar, Ontario based developer of renewable energy projects. Spark Solar will manage installation of the solar units and the day to day business operations.
"The creation of this new solar co-operative will allow local ownership and our members the opportunity to invest and participate in the development of renewable energy within our own communities," says David Malott, AGRIS Solar Co-operatives board president. "Our goal is to construct, install and operate more than 1000 solar units across Ontario, which will provide enough power for 20,000 homes annually" added Malott.
This new solar energy co-operative will take advantage of the incentives provided in the Ontario's Green Energy Act and microFIT (Feed in Tariff) Program which will allow for expanding the electrical grid that allows for long-term price guarantees for investors. "Today's announcement shows the vitality of the Green Energy Act, and its focus on a better economy and a cleaner environment," said Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Pat Hoy. "I congratulate AGRIS Co-op for their foresight and wish them success with this important venture."
AGRIS Solar Co-operative is expected to have more than $70 million in assets once the enrolment goal of 1,000 installations is reached. Members will be asked to contribute $20,000 towards the capital cost of each installation of a solar module that is capable of generating up to 10 kilowatts of nameplate power. Members will sell the electrical power generated to Ontario Power Authority who is contractually obligated to purchase the power for a period of 20 years at a rate of $0.802 per kilowatt-hour.
AGRIS Solar Co-operative has already signed new members and established a board of directors. Elected to serve as board president is Muirkirk area farmer David Malott, vice president Larry Pajot, a Windsor area farmer and Jim Campbell, general manager of AGRIS Co-operative from the Blenheim area was elected as secretary. Other elected directors are Kim Fysh of Thamesville and Paul Repko, Kingsville.
A series of informational meetings for the public about AGRIS Solar Co-operative are being planned to take place across southwestern Ontario in April.