FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

What is a “renewable energy co-op?” 

How do I become a member?

What are the benefits of membership?

Does my membership fee count as an investment?

Is WGC currently accepting investments?

What is the minimum investment?

What sort of return on my investment can I expect?

What is an offering statement?

Is this a guaranteed investment?

Is WGC not-for-profit or for-profit? What is the difference between the two?

What is the FIT program?

How much is the province paying for renewable energy?

Does WGC have a FIT contract?

Will the FIT program be cancelled if a new provincial government is elected?

Are there other successful community-owned energy projects with FIT contracts?

Where are the potential solar projects located?

How much will the roof owner receive in rental fees from the co-op?

Can all types of roofs support solar panels?

How do solar cells work?

What are some of the advantages of solar energy?

Is solar electricity cost-effective?

Where should solar panels be installed?

Do the panels require maintenance? If so, who will complete this work?

Do solar panels still work when it’s cloudy outside?

Do solar panels need to have south facing exposure?

How long do solar panels last before they need to be replaced?

What happens when it snows?

What is a “renewable energy co-op?”

A co-operative (“co-op”) is a legally-recognized organization whose members often live in a similar geographical area. Renewable energy co-ops develop and invest in wind, solar and biogas projects and sell the energy back to the main electrical grid. To learn more about co-ops generally, visit the Canadian Co-operative Association and the Ontario Co-operative Association.

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How do I become a member?

If you would like to become a member of Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-operative, please visit our Membership Page and fill out the online form. There is a one-time fee of $100* for a lifetime membership.
* Membership fee reduced to $40 during our SolarShare bond campaign

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What are the benefits of membership?

As a member, you are entitled to vote at meetings which will decide on the co-op’s plans.

For a limited time members of WGC can receive memberships in SolarShare Co-op at no further cost. You can then invest in SolarBonds to help finance community-owned solar projects.

 Your $100* membership share is a lifetime share. It cannot be redeemed although you can terminate your membership whenever you wish. By becoming a member of  Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-op, you are supporting green energy in our region, helping to build capacity for community-supported renewable energy generation.
* Membership fee reduced to $40 during our SolarShare bond campaign

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Does my membership fee count as an investment?

The membership fee is just that, a fee. An investment is different. You have to be a member to invest in the co-op.

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Is WGC currently accepting investments?

Solar bonds are available to the Wintergreen Co-op members through SolarShare, as a result of Wintergreen’s collaboration  with TREC.

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What is the minimum investment?

 The minimum investment for solar bonds through SolarShare is $1,000.

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What  return on my investment can I expect?

Solar Bonds pay 5% interest semi-annually on 5 year term.

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What is an offering statement?

An offering statement is a document which describes in detail, the exact nature of the investment opportunity. All the known risks associated with the investment must be described clearly and completely to prospective investors. Renewable energy co-ops are legally required to prepare this document for their investors in order to ensure full transparency.

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Is WGC currently accepting investments?

Solar bonds are now available to the Wintergreen Co-op members through SolarShare, as a result of Wintergreen’s collaboration  with TREC.

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What is the minimum investment?

 The minimum investment for solar bonds through SolarShare is $1,000.

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What  return on my investment can I expect?

Solar Bonds pay 5% interest semi-annually on 5 year term.

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What is an offering statement?

An offering statement is a document which describes in detail, the exact nature of the investment opportunity. All the known risks associated with the investment must be described clearly and completely to prospective investors. Renewable energy co-ops are legally required to prepare this document for their investors in order to ensure full transparency.

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 Is this a guaranteed investment?

SolarShare’s Offering Statement is based on  FIT (Feed-in-Tariff) contracts with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), which  spell out how much money OPA will pay for the power sent to it. These contracts are guaranteed for 20 years.

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What is the FIT program?

The FIT Program (Feed-In-Tariff) is the centrepiece of the Ontario’s Green Energy Act. This program, delivered by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), allows organizations and individuals to sell their renewably-generated electricity back to the public grid and earn a reasonable rate of return in the process. The FIT program was designed to increase renewable energy production in Ontario.

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How much is the province paying for renewable energy?

There have been two rounds of FIT contracts completed, FIT 1 and FIT 2; For the complete pricing information, click here.

Fit 3 applications have been received by the OPA and are currently being processed.

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Does WGC have a FIT contract?

WGC does not have a FIT contract directly with the OPA. Currently, Wintergreen has two FIT 3 applications each for 500 kW ground mount solar projects in collaboration  with TREC.

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Will the FIT program be cancelled if a new provincial government is elected?

Even if a new provincial government decides to cancel the FIT program, that will only mean that there will be no more new contracts. The government must honour the contracts already signed under the FIT program.

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 Are there other successful community-owned energy projects with FIT contracts?

 

Our offering statement will be based on a FIT (Feed-in-Tariff) contract with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), which will spell out how much money OPA will pay for the power sent to it. These contracts are guaranteed for 20 years. However, investment returns will depend on the actual production of the wind turbines or solar panels.

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 What is the FIT program?

The FIT Program (Feed-In-Tariff) is the centrepiece of the Ontario’s Green Energy Act. This program, delivered by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), allows organizations and individuals to sell their renewably-generated electricity back to the public grid and earn a reasonable rate of return in the process. The FIT program was designed to increase renewable energy production in Ontario.

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How much is the province paying for renewable energy?

There have been two rounds of FIT contracts, FIT 1 and FIT 2; For the complete pricing information, click here.

Fit 3 applications have been received by the OPA and are currently being processed.

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Does WGC have a FIT contract?

WGC does not have a FIT contract directly with the OPA. Currently, Wintergreen has two applications in partnership with TREC.

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Will the FIT program be cancelled if a new provincial government is elected?

Even if a new provincial government decides to cancel the FIT program, that will only mean that there will be no more new contracts. The government must honour the contracts already signed under the FIT program.

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 Are there other successful community-owned energy projects with FIT contracts?

Yes. Close to home, there are two successful renewable energy co-operatives: Wintergreen’s partner,  TREC (The Renewable Energy Co-operative) out of Toronto, and OREC (Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative). Both of these renewable energy co-ops are producing energy and profits with their solar and wind projects.

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Where are the potential solar projects located?

WGC is currently looking for rooftops upon which to install  solar arrays. We are hoping to partner with a public or community organization to develop a rooftop but will also consider any interested property owner with an appropriate roof or about a 5 or 6 acre suitable piece of land .  Properties should be in our catchment area of Kingston, Frontenac County, Lennox & Addington or Leeds & Grenville.

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How much will the roof owner receive in rental fees from the co-op?

Rental agreements will be negotiated with building owners and will depend on the profitability of the project.

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Can all types of roofs support solar panels?

An engineering assessment must be completed on the suitability of the rooftop to determine the suitability of each roof.

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How do solar cells work?

Solar cells convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Silicon is a semi-conductor, and shares some of the properties of an electrical insulator. The sun is composed of photons, and as these hit the silicon atoms, they transfer their energy, which frees up the electrons. An electrical imbalance is created by the silicon in the solar cell, which makes the electrons flow in the same direction (this creates an electric current).

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 What are some of the advantages of solar energy?

There are numerous advantages of solar energy. It is a free source of clean, cost-effective, green energy. Solar panels require little maintenance and have a long lifespan. Ways to use the sun’s power are constantly improving.

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Is solar electricity cost-effective?

The biggest  advantage of solar electricity is that it is generated during the day when the demand for electricity is at its highest in Ontario. It is generally more expensive to supply electricity for the peaks of demand than for the constant demand that is called base load.

The price of solar panels is continually becoming more competitive and in many jurisdictions solar electricity is now at grid parity, meaning that it costs the same to produce as customers pay for the electricity on the grid.

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Where should solar panels be installed?

PV panels should be located so that they have clear southern exposure during peak sun hours, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. PV arrays work best when they are perpendicular to the direction of the sun’s rays, tilted at an angle approximately equivalent to the latitude of the site (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/sol_elec.htm#1).

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Do the panels require maintenance? If so, who will complete this work?

Solar cells are protected by a glass coating, but the panels should be cleaned occasionally to avoid energy loss.  The Co-op will contract for maintenance.

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Do solar panels still work when it’s cloudy outside?

Yes, solar panels still work when it’s cloudy or foggy outside. If the cloud cover is at its worst, the panels may not produce as much energy as they normally do, but a thinner layer of fog does not dramatically affect solar energy output. What matters the most is how much sunshine the panels receive over the course of an entire year, not just on a given day.

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How long do solar panels last before they need to be replaced?

Solar panels are built to last up to 50 years. Panels will be at minimum 80% efficiency at the end of 25 years and 50% efficiency after 40 years. Rooftop installations require minimal maintenance.

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Do solar panels need to have south facing exposure?

Ideally, solar panels should be facing southwest, but this is not a requirement.

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What happens when it snows?

The majority of solar energy production will be between the months of March and October. The panels are at installed at an angle and the surface of panels have minimal friction. They generate a certain amount of heat, so snow generally doesn’t stick to the panel surface.

 For more information on solar energy, please visit http://www.cansia.ca/solar-energy-101 Back to top