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One of the RA Centre’s many baseball diamonds, which will be shifting to more efficient and more effective lighting through its collaboration with CoEnergy (RA Centre, 2018)

CoEnergy’s community finance endeavours have gotten off to a strong start, demonstrating the appetite for climate action from ordinary citizens. The co-op raised $336,000 in under six weeks through the sale of CoEnergy’s Class A preference shares.

The funds will go towards energy efficiency retrofits within Ottawa’s RA Centre, as well as three other multi-unit residential buildings across the city. All four facilities are starting with LED lighting retrofits, as the first step towards more comprehensive, greenhouse gas reducing retrofits.

39 members of CoEnergy – 29% of the co-op’s total membership – purchased preference shares. The average investment was just over $8,000, with a number of members investing within RRSPs and TFSAs. The 10-year investment product provides an annual dividend, targeting 4%.

CoEnergy generates revenues by financing energy and water efficiency projects and claiming a portion of the savings the various facilities experience on their monthly bills. These savings are returned to investing members of co-op, in the form of an annual dividend.

The co-op is also working towards developing community-owned solar projects, allowing facilities to offset their monthly electricity demand.

CoEnergy is building on the success of the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative (OREC), which has developed 20 solar projects across Eastern Ontario. OREC is limited to the generation and sale of renewable energy, however, and for some time, there was a desire to do more. With that said, OREC is preparing for its final investment offering in the coming weeks.

“Existing building stock is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Ottawa. We are happy to provide a local investment opportunity to members that builds a more sustainable and resilient future in the face of climate change” says former CoEnergy General Manager Janice Ashworth.

Members can continue to invest today, either through CoEnergy directly or within registered accounts as a 2019 contribution.