Greetings fellow activists and mindful citizens;
I wish to share news of an exciting development unfolding in the Appalachian mountains of western North Carolina. The Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE) is preparing to launch a cooperative business venture for community-owned renewable energy. We’ve been working for the past 18 months to develop and tweak a model of collaborative financing that makes purchasing PV solar considerably cost effective; with a potentially significant return on investment within 5 or 6 years. Currently we are organizing demonstration projects here in western North Carolina, while drafting our strategic and business plans for expansion.
We are a nonprofit organization. However, we are pioneering a “hybrid” development model, in which we seek to establish a network of community-owned Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) comprised of small businesses, congregations of faith, individual homeowners and other community constituencies; to pool their finances and invest in renewable energy. These locally owned LLCs will take advantage of state and federal tax incentives, which are generally written to benefit wealthy investors and large corporations. By forging these innovative partnerships we seek to build the capacity of communities to generate their own electricity using clean, renewable resources … while creating sustainable economic opportunities for local interests, and reducing dependence on the monopolized power grid.
AIRE was recently awarded funding from a progressive private foundation to write an in-depth business plan, upon the completion of which we will potentially be given a “transformational grant” … which would enable us to launch our vision for community-owned renewable energy far and wide. One step in the process of finalizing our business plan involves gathering public interest data on community-owned renewable energy and other related issues. Please, consider taking our quick survey … it will be of great assistance in our efforts to restructure the modern energy economy to be more clean, sustainable, and democratic!