Friends form solar energy co-op
The desire to switch to a sustainable form of energy inspired three friends.
Chris Olson and John Gorman of Ponsonby and Philip Court of St Johns are launching their cooperative Energyshare and invite others to join. They share business experience in the electricity and engineering sectors.
‘‘We wanted to create a change in society in terms of the use of more renewable energy and less fossil fuel-based energy,’’ Court says.
Using solar energy is becoming cheaper but the cost of installing the panels is still a barrier for many, Gorman says.
The nationwide co-operative will invest in community projects in order to purchase solar panels which it will give to its members on a lease-to-own basis over a 17-year period.
Because it’s a co-operative it is not looking for the cheapest hardware but the best hardware for everybody, Gorman says.
The panels have a 25-year life expectancy and vary in size depending on the family size and whether they are for residential or commercial use, he says.
There are similar initiatives in the US but members are just leasing the panels, Court says.
The co-operative makes everyone who signs up a stakeholder in the company.
Membership will cost about $350. It won’t be paid as a lump sum but rather as a monthly deduction of around $10, Energyshare manager Chris Olson says.
The cost of membership and the leasing fee will be roughly equivalent to what a member’s power would cost if you didn’t join, Court says.
‘‘To start with you will probably be paying a little bit of a premium but one or two years down the track, it will be cheaper [than the prices set by other electricity companies].’’
An information evening is being held tonight at Freeman’s Bay Community Hall, 52 Hepburn St from 6:30pm till 9:30pm.
Tickets are $15 plus booking fee. Go to eventbrite.co.nz.
Go to aucklandcityharbour news.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to watch a video explaining the ideas behind Energyshare. Clean focus: Chris Olson, John Gorman and Philip Court have come up with a way for residents to access renewable energy.