We know that a green transition through renewables is essential to realise our ambitious climate goals. How can citizens play a more active role in this transition? How do we engage citizens, so we could avoid the resistance from local residents, which is usually met when external investors want to install wind turbines or solar panels? Rather than getting the drawbacks from renewable infrastructures (disturbance to the garden view for example), how can local residents benefit from them? Energy communities might be the answer to these.
Our solar cooperative started from the EU project AURORA, where project partners endeavour to turn "energy community" into reality in their institutions. Here at Aarhus, we choose to adopt the Danish "andelstanke" and set up the Universitetets Energifællesskab F.M.B.A. (UEF) as a solar cooperative. The idea is that citizens in Aarhus can become members and buy shares to crowdfund the rooftop solar photovoltaic installation, which is going to be installed on a few buildings at Aarhus University (AU). In other words, members all jointly own the solar installation. Electricity produced will primarily be sold to AU, and members will receive economic returns every year, based on how much electricity is sold and how many shares they own. In addition, members have the opportunity to participate in the activities organized by the community, for example, energy-related discussions, hands-on workshop on home-made sensors, to name a few.
This framework did not come easy; it took many discussions with the legal consultant, the university and the building owner to reach an agreement. UEF is officially founded in August 2023 and registered with the Danish Business Authority in September the same year. If you are interested in finding out more or considering buying a share, you are welcome to join the community's Google Group, or write to us at email@example.com.
Statutes of the cooperative
Meet the citizens who founded the cooperative!