German energy cooperatives plan »ground mounted solar plants in citizens’ hands«

The cooperative Bürgerwerke eG, an umbrella organization of around 100 German citizen energy cooperatives with over 50,000 members, initiated the »BürgerProjektGemeinschaft« (citizens’ project community) to specifically implement the construction of ground-mounted solar power plants. Such projects are problematic for small players and thus also for citizen energy cooperatives because of the high expense of planning and approval procedures.
Eight member cooperatives of Bürgerwerke have now joined forces to form the project community. The goal is to combine the regional roots of these cooperatives »with the expertise and financial strength of the umbrella cooperative« in order to be able to implement ground mounted projects in such a way that they fit the circumstances of the respective municipality and allow the greatest possible participation, including financial, of the people at the respective location.
In this regard, Bürgerwerke assumes »planning processes and costs of project development and supports its member cooperatives with knowledge and expert personnel as well as in the regional electricity marketing.« The umbrella cooperative also provides start-up financing in an undisclosed amount for the BürgerProjektGemeinschaft, which, however, is to become economically independent »in the next few years.« Other cooperatives are to participate in the future, and property owners are also being sought, as well as municipalities »that want to profit from the decentralized energy turnaround.«

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