Financing from Shared Capital Cooperative is helping Minneapolis-based Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF) to initiate multiple community solar garden projects in Minnesota. CEF is an energy efficiency and community-owned clean energy cooperative based in Minneapolis and serving members across Minnesota. CEF develops community solar gardens and provides energy efficiency products and services to local residents.
In early 2016, Shared Capital made a loan to CEF to support its first solar garden project. CEF is developing solar arrays on the rooftops of the Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis and the Edina Public Works. In December 2016 and January 2017, Shared Capital is providing additional financing to CEF to support several more community solar projects.
Community solar gardens are large solar panel arrays placed on private and public buildings. The operator sells subscriptions to community residents, who then receive a discount equal to their share of the energy generated. Community Solar allows renters and low-income families the opportunity to support renewable energy and receive the benefits in the form of reduced energy cost.
Shared Capital Executive Director, Christina Jennings was among a handful of CDFI leaders to take part in the White House summit on Community Solar Finance on November 1 this year. Convened by the Obama administration and the Department of Energy, the summit brought together almost 100 leaders from CDFIs and renewable energy sector to discuss how to expand financing available to community solar projects around the country, noting the importance of this approach for advancing social and economic equity.