Frequently Asked Questions
SolarShare is a not for profit co-operative corporation with the express goal of growing community-based solar electricity generation in Ontario by engaging residents and investors in projects that offer tangible financial, social, and environmental returns. Since 2010, SolarShare has been developing and installing solar power projects across the province. Now, through the co-op model, Ontario residents and businesses can enjoy financial benefits from investing in commercial scale solar energy through the purchase of SolarShare Community Solar Bonds. SolarShare is a project of the TREC Renewable Energy Co-operative
Investment in SolarShare is open to all residents and businesses in Ontario Canada, including municipalities, subject to approval from the Board. Based on Ontario Power Authority definitions, only "natural persons" can be co-op members. While businesses may invest, they cannot become members. Members pay a one-time membership fee of $40 to participate as an investor.
The SolarShare offering statement is intended to provide full true and plain disclosure of all material facts relating to SolarShare and this investment opportunity. Everyone who considers becoming a member and investor in SolarShare should read the Offering Statement prior to making a decision to become a member and invest. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), which regulates co-operatives in Ontario is approved this document in October, 2012.
SolarShare bonds are considered ‘lower risk investments’ due to five factors: (1) charge on title, (2) guaranteed 20-year revenue stream, (3) a portfolio of projects instead of a single installation, and (4) no development or construction risk.
- The bonds are secured by the solar PV assets and a charge that has been registered on title.
- Revenue risk is low since each SolarShare project has secured a 20 year power purchase contract with the Ontario Power Authority which guarantees a market and a fixed price for power produced throughout the 20-year period and thus allows a predictable project income stream.
- Since SolarShare has a portfolio of projects, performance risk is spread across multiple projects, and so there is less of an impact if one of the projects is performing below expectations.
- Bond holders are not exposed to project development and construction risks. SolarShare uses a model of private bridge financing to cover project development and construction costs, and then the Solar Bonds are used to refinance the projects once they have reached Commercial Operation.
There is no market in which to sell or trade SolarShare bonds, and none is planned. If a member chooses to sell or redeem his/her bond(s) within the 5-year term, in extreme circumstances the Board will attempt to sell the bond(s) to another member, however cannot provide guarantee.
The minimum individual investment is $1,000 and the maximum is $25,000. This will be periodically reviewed by the SolarShare Board of Directors.
Each SolarShare project is backed by a 20-year power purchase contract with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). Projects over 10 kW have a Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) contract, and those under 10 kW have a micro-FIT contract. Contracts ensure set price and guarantee to purchase all power produced by the system for 20 years, resulting in a low-risk, stable revenue stream. SolarShare projects have reached Commercial Production stage and are generating power and revenues under contract. Visit the Ontario Power Authority website for more detail
SolarShare's current 18 projects each have a binding 20-year power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority under Ontario's Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program. These agreements have been entrenched into law by the Ontario Liberal Party and changes in government do not affect the legality of these agreements.
SolarShare currently retains TREC Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC) under a 3-year agreement for the management of its operations, specifically marketing, administration and future project development.
TREC is reimbursed for new project development and related expenses through project development fees, as approved by the SolarShare Board, and a monthly fee to cover the ongoing administration of SolarShare’s daily activities.
The SolarShare Board provides management oversight. All final decision-making authority related to material changes in the annual operating budget, business plan, and asset ownership rests with the SolarShare Board.
Your membership package includes your bond certificate and a letter informing you how you may participate in the co-operative process.
Not yet. Solar Bonds are technically eligible, but we are working hard to find a cost-effective process for you to file Solar Bonds into a self-directed RRSP account. A process is expected to be in place in 2013, and we can keep you up to date with our newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here.