Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation (NUUC) Solar: Debentures


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Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation (NUUC) Solar: Debentures
Speaker: Rick Salay, Chair, Greening Committee, NUUC

Part of the 2010 Community Power Finance Forum at MaRS:

Published in: Spiritual
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Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation (NUUC) Solar: Debentures

  1. 1. THE NEIGHBOURHOOD SOLAR PROJECT Rick Salay Chair, Greening Committee Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation
  2. 2. How it began … • A Green$aver audit gave us the initial agenda • Feed-in Tariff made solar panels a reality • Objective: Take concrete social action to reduce our environmental footprint by putting a 25kw solar array on the roof of the church • (A) Involves community and is inclusive • (B) Acts as a model for other groups and individuals • (C) Is financially viable by being self-sustaining so that we do not place a financial burden on the congregation • (D) Provides an opportunity to educate others about environmental issues • (E) Takes advantage of incentives and financing options made available by the city of Toronto and province of Ontario.
  3. 3. The Strategy • Started with a strong team! • Financial • (49%) 20yr Interest free loan (Toronto Green Energy Fund) • (51%) 20yr debentures (5% interest) • 20yr Feed In-tariff contract 24.6 Kw @ 71.3¢/kwh • Generates approx. $20000/year • Cost approx. $13000/year • Communication • Town hall meetings with congregation • Promotion • Make a 2-page brochure to describe the initiative • Challenge: tight time frame from mid Nov. – mid Jan. • Solution: Internet! • Leverage social networks of team members: Green party/NDP; green associations, etc. • Viral email campaign leading back to website • Also: newsletters, Facebook, word-of-mouth, flyering local neighbourhood, newspaper/radio • Become OSEA member • Legal
  4. 4. The Results • We obtained the support of the 120 member congregation and 35% of investors are from this group. • We were inundated with requests to invest from people all over Toronto and other areas of Southern Ontario. • Had to turn people away • A truly broad-based effort, we have 56 investors with investments ranging from $1000 to $10000. • Unlike traditional fundraising where 80% of funding comes from 20% of donors • We have gotten queries from many organizations wanting to do the same and we have shared our materials and lessons learned with them
  5. 5. Lessons Learned • Key success factors • A strong team passionate about the cause • Gov’t financial programs • Debenture strategy • models • have more complex requirements such as the formation of a corporation and place the responsibilities and risks of joint ownership on the participants. • debenture model is a more "light-weight" approach to participation that allows the community to support and benefit from a green initiative without a large commitment. • Committed congregation • OSEA membership • Good relationship with a contractor • Things to consider • Working with Gov’t takes time! • Use your social networks • Don’t forget other costs: • E.g. tree trimming, permits, insurance, legal, postage, issuing T5 slips, etc.
  6. 6. Debenture Sales 140 Chronology 120 100 Aug. • Green$aver report 80 2008 60 May • Get quote from SolarGrid 2009 40 Aug. • Apply for city loan 20 9 0 Nov. • Finalize brochure Nov. Dec. 9 Dec. 14 Dec. Jan. 6 Jan. 12 Jan. 14 18 20 26 Nov. • Finalize debenture contract 19 Dec. • Verbal confirmation of city loan for $107K 14 Dec. • Story about project on World-at-Six 23 Jan. • Informal confirmation of OPA contract (20kw) 20 Mar. • Construction phase begins (preliminary) 26 Apr. • OPA approval for remaining 4.6kw 16 May • Start of installation 10 June • System goes live 15
  7. 7. THANK YOU! Questions…