Cooperatively-owned renewable energy is a fairly simple model. But we find some people still don’t understand it. Since I am spending a lot of time reading and telling stories to my three year old I decided to explain how the model works in the form of a children’s story. To simplify things I have changed the amounts by a factor of 1000 but the ratios would still be the same.
Once upon a time Sue, Tim, Jessica, and Pete pooled their money together and bough a solar system for $100. Each of them put in $25.
One day Jill noticed that they had a solar energy system. Jill said, “I have always wanted to put a solar panel on the new house I am building but I can’t afford the $100 upfront cost. Can I use your panel and just pay for the electricity that it generates?”
Sue, Tim, Jessica and Pete thought about it and decided that Jill could do that. They told her that they would charge her $4 per year for the electricity it generated.
Jill said, “Well that is a little bit more than I am paying now for electricity but I will consider it.”
Then Jill found out that the City government was requiring her to meet certain energy efficiency targets with her new home. Her builder told her it was going to cost $200 for these efficiently upgrades. But if she installed the solar energy system from Sue, Tim, Jessica and Peter, she could meet the energy target.
Jill decided that spending a few extra cents each year for the electricity from the solar energy system was worth it.
Jill was happy because she didn’t have to spend the $200 for the other efficiency upgrades.
Sue, Tim, Jessica and Pete were happy because they were getting $1 each per year. And that is more money than they would have received had they put their $25 in the bank.
So they all lived happily ever after.