A new on-site solar power co-operative has been launched in the city of Edmonton in Canada’s western Alberta province.  

The Solar Power Investment Cooperative of Edmonton (SPICE) plans to fund and facilitate the installation of commercial and residential solar arrays across the city.

In an interview with local newspaper the Edmonton Journal, SPICE’s chairman Warren Sarauer said the co-op aims to help businesses and condominium associations plan and tender solar power projects. SPICE could also act as a broker for investment in such projects.

One way to attract individual ‘Joe-average’ investors, Sarauer said, would be to allow people to invest some of their retirement funds in community solar projects with a 20-year payback term.

SPICE’s first solar project is expected to get underway this summer, with an output of 300-500 kW. The project is planned to power a community hall and nearby residences.

Sarauer referenced co-operative solar groups in Canada and elsewhere as able to ‘implement something that seems at first financially uneconomic,’ noting that ‘lots of places in Germany, a lot of smaller places [in Canada] have used co-ops to do it’.