Solshare Energy is a co-operative controlled corporation with the goal of growing community-based renewable electricity generation in BC by engaging residents and investors in projects that offer financial, social, and environmental returns. Solshare Energy is a project of Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-operative.
Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op (VREC) first began exploring the idea of a community owned solar energy project in 2006.
We wanted to make owning solar energy more accessible. Some people wanted to own solar but couldn’t afford the cost of a complete system, didn’t own a house or owned a house but didn’t have a suitable roof. In Europe thousands of people were owners of renewable energy systems through community co-ops and we wanted to do something similar here. However, in 2006 it was not economical viable.
As the price of photovoltaic equipment and utility rates changed we began to create the framework for BC’s first cooperatively owned solar energy project. We applied to the BC Utilities Commission in 2014 for an exemption that would allow us to sell electricity to third party customers. In 2015 we installed our first project and filed the documents with the BC Securities commission that would allow us sell investments to the public. In 2016 we sold our first offering of public shares and our first power plant came online.
Rob Baxter – Solshare’s Founder and CEO is Rob Baxter. Rob is a co-founder of Vancouver Renewable Energy where he has provided consulting and project management services for renewable energy systems. He has been in the solar energy industry since 2004 and helped initiate and complete the the first grid-tie photovoltaic install in the city of Vancouver. Prior to that he owned an IT consulting firm that worked with clients across North America.
He is an active member of BCSEA, is a board member of SPEC and teaches a course on solar energy for Langara College Continuing Studies. Rob has an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. He has also completed photovoltaic training at BCIT and ISO 14001 auditing courses accredited by IEMA and ANSI-RAB.
Rob has appeared on CityTV, Global TV, CTV and CBC discussing sustainability and energy issues. He has also spoken at regional green building conferences.
Tom Green (Director) – Tom has a PhD in Ecological Economics from UBC. He has 15 years of applied work experience on research questions regarding resource management and sustainability policy.
Niki Westman (CFO) –Niki is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) with over 16 years of experience in accounting for environmental organizations, community economic development, social finance, social services, local and sustainable agriculture, and both alternative and conventional health care sectors.
For a decade, Niki was the Finance and Accounting Administrator for Ecotrust Canada, a non-profit and for-profit social enterprise that supports conservation economic development initiatives in BC, including micro-hydro power projects in First Nations’ communities. In the early 90s, she worked in the Energy Management branch at Ontario Hydro in Toronto, where she assisted with energy audits, and produced reports providing analyses of energy usage and suggestions for energy conservation in commercial buildings.
The installation of projects will be handled by VREC Staff.