Doing Well While Doing Good: Raising Community Capital

community capital
Janice of OREC giving a presentation at a prior retreat.

On June 19th the Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-operative will be holding the 5th Annual Community Energy Retreat at Wintergreen Studios, along with long-term partners, Sustainable Eastern Ontario and the Community Energy Network of Eastern Ontario.

Event Summary:

This year’s retreat will feature case studies and examples of how community funds were leveraged for a variety of unique projects. As in previous years, the event will include a mixture of presentations, roundtable discussions and themed group discussions, and delicious food featuring local produce. There will be opportunities to network with like-minded colleagues throughout the day.

This day-long event is open to the public and to Wintergreen Co-op members. It will run from 9:30 – 4:00, and the fee includes workshop materials, a sustainability tour of Wintergreen’s facilities, snacks, tea, coffee, and lunch. The subsidized fee is $20, thanks to the contributing partners.


Annual AGM … and transparent solar cells!

MScreen Shot 2015-03-26 at 6.47.10 AMuch has been happening… so much, in fact, that we haven’t posted on the website for some time! (for almost daily postings, check our Facebook page). We held our Annual General Meeting on January 30, and learned all about “Zoo Poo” from Daniel Bida, Executive Director of ZooShare.  ZooShare is a sister co-op, engaged in building a very exciting biogas project at the Toronto Zoo using “Zoo Poo” to generate clean energy for Ontario. Zoo poo… who knew?

transparent solarPretty amazing technology is also around the corner with fully transparent solar cells – click here to read the full article. Or check FB!

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 6.51.54 AMAnd… mark the date… we’ll be holding the 5th Annual Green Energy Workshop at Wintergreen Studios on Friday, June 19. Thanks again to our long-time partner, Sustainable Eastern Ontario, for making it possible to host this event at Wintergreen.

Wintergreen Sister Renewable Energy Co-ops in the News

renewable energy co-opsOur sister co-ops, SolarShare and Oxford Community Energy Co-op are featured in this truly inspiring story about renewable energy co-ops in Ontario. As Michael-Allen Marion writes:

Green energy co-operatives are enjoying a renaissance in the Ontario power market.

In several cities and towns in southern and southwestern Ontario you’ll see large buildings or fields with solar-panel arrays, with some wind farms dotting the landscape.

Often those projects are the creations of co-ops. The fruits of their investments have increasing visibility in roof mount or field solar panel arrays in Toronto and its suburbs, and more recently in Guelph, Brant and Oxford.

Renewable energy co-ops have been around for years. One of the oldest is TREC Renewable Energy Co-op, which was founded in 1998 as a non-profit community power co-operative.

Wintergreen Co-op members and friends can invest in both of these co-ops. Contact David Hahn ( for more information.


Christmas Comes Early for Wintergreen Co-op

solarToday the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced the latest contract offers in its FIT program. The Wintergreen SolarShare collaboration has been offered a contract to sell electricity from a 500kW ground mount photovoltaic project on Unity Road in Kingston. This is the second Wintergreen project to be offered a contract by the OPA this year. We are intending to submit at least one more project in 2015. We will keep members up to date on developments.

So far this year our members have invested $447,000 in SolarShare bonds. The money that is raised from these bond sales will finance these and other co-op owned projects all over Ontario. Our investment campaign will continue through 2015. Remember the SolarShare bonds are for a five-year term and pay 5% interest on a semi-annual basis.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 6.58.15 PMWe thank all of our Wintergreen Co-op members for your support, and invite you to our AGM on Friday Jan. 30 at the Main Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library on Johnson Street at 7:00 pm. Our guest speaker will be Daniel Bida, the President of ZooShare, a sister co-op, engaged in building a very exciting biogas project at the Toronto Zoo using Zoo Pooh to generate clean energy for Ontario.

Put it in your calendar and stay tuned for more information.

Season’s Greetings to All
From Wintergreen Co-op

Partnerships and affiliates

Co-ops like ours thrive on the partnerships we have with other co-ops and like-minded organizations. We have posted regularly about our partnership with SolarShare and TREC Renewable Energy. You’ve no doubt heard about our partnership with Bullfrog Power as well.

The list of partnerships is growing, and our partners and affiliates are listed on the side bar, so that you can access their websites directly.

partnershipsOne of those partners is SWITCH Kingston, for which we are one of the many supporting members. SWITCH is a network of businesses, research and educational institutions, public sector participants, and community-minded volunteers dedicated to making Southeastern Ontario a leading centre for sustainable energy.

Bond sales beyond our wildest dreams!

invest sunYou may recall reading the earlier post from September, when we (with great hope, but a bit of nervousness) put our target out there of $200,000 in Solar Share bond sales  by December. Well, we have raised nearly double that amount, so we’re setting our sights even higher: $500,000 by March 31! Yes, that would be a half a million.

Support renewable energy initiatives and help us reach our goal. Once you are a member of Wintergreen Co-op you can become a member of SolarShare Co-op at no additional cost so that you can buy SolarBonds. Just remember to use the WGC code when you fill out the bond purchase application.

Membership fee reduction!

Special Offer!

membership feeWe’ve reduced the Co-op lifetime membership fee to $40 for the duration of the bond sales campaign. Join now!

Already a member? Encourage your family and friends to join now at this reduced fee.

Remember, once you are a member of Wintergreen Co-op you can become a member of SolarShare Co-op at no additional cost so that you can buy SolarBonds. Just remember to use the WGC code when you fill out the bond purchase application.

SolarBond Campaign

$200,000 bond sales target by December 31, 2014. Now’s the time to invest in Ontario renewable energy projects

Investing benefits you, the Co-op, and the environment

  • Bonds pay you a 5 % return every year for 5 years
  • The Co-op receives a benefit every time a member buys a bond
  • SolarBonds support clean, green energy in Ontario

Special friend

A Co-op member, who wishes to remain anonymous, has promised to match the next $25,000 in SolarBond purchases. Our goal is within reach.

Want to know more about SolarBonds?

We’d be happy to present information at a meeting you host or to have you come to one of our information sessions. Look for our information session schedule on our website. out this page for bond information
We’d like to hear from you. Please call someone from our SolarBond Campaign team:

David Hahn, 613-273-5545
Steve Abbott, 613-766-8835
Wolfe Erlichman, 613-273-3986
Bob MacInnes, 613-546-0719

Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-op – 100% volunteer powered!


Invest in the Sun

invest sunWintergreen, in collaboration with SolarShare, will be hosting small group information sessions on how you can help the environment and make an ethical investment. Invest in the sun!

On August 19th at 7:00pm, and August 27th at 5:00pm, we will be holding information sessions at St. Andrews Church on Clergy Street at the corner with Princess Street in our board room on the second floor.

Please Email David Hahn at: to let us know when you will be attending so we can ensure we have enough seats!

Building Community Power Retreat

building community power
Steve Lapp (St. Lawrence College) with Dwight Lunan & Joseph Lewis

On Friday June 13th, we hosted close to 30 people who are passionate about renewable energy at the 4th Annual Building Community Power Retreat. The retreat  was held at Wintergreen Studios, our namesake, as the idea for creating the Co-op was first formed at an earlier retreat that took place at Wintergreen.

This year, we were delighted to showcase our partnership with SolarShare, and enjoyed presentations by Mike Brigham (TREC), Julie Leach (SolarShare), and Kristina Inrig (Sustainable Eastern Ontario), among others.

Julie Drucker, from the Frontenac News, joined us for the afternoon and penned an article that you can access here.

Thanks to all who came and participated so wholeheartedly (including those participants who tilted the solar panels at Wintergreen Studios to their summer pitch!)

What is the real price of electricity in Ontario?

electricityThis seems like a timely article with the upcoming election on Thursday, June 12. Rob Graham, in an article titled, Are Hydro Prices Really So High? (click on the title to see the full article), provocatively suggests that hydro prices on Ontario aren’t actually that high. He writes:
Hydro Quebec routinely surveys electricity rates for consumers/small business and large industrial customers across North America. In 2013 it may surprise many people to know that at a kw/h price of $0.1248, Toronto has lower hydro rates than Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Halifax, Charlottetown, and St John’s. In addition, it has much lower rates than Boston (0.165), Detroit (0.1554), New York (0.2175), and San Francisco (0.2294).