Pajopower cvba is a renewable energy sources cooperative (REScoop) based in Flanders, Belgium. The cooperative issues shares and invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in “hetPajottenland” and “de Zennevallei”, two regions South of Brussels. All citizens are eligible to join the cooperative: after purchasing a share they become a co-owner of the projects and share in the profits.Pajopower reaches out for both local citizens and local municipalities and helps them to improve the energy efficiency of their houses and buildings. For private citizens they have set up a (subsidised) EE facilitation service, for public buildings they are using third party financing.
How do REScoops collaborate with local municipalities on EE?
REScoop is short for renewable energy cooperative and refers to a business model where citizens jointly own and participate in renewable energy or energy efficiency projects. We also refer to REScoops as community power or community energy initiatives. REScoops and local municipalities typically serve the same stakeholder: citizens. REScoops do not necessarily have the legal statute of a cooperative, but rather distinguish themselves by the way they do business. They typically respect 7 principles that have been duly outlined by the International Cooperative Alliance:
All citizens are eligible to join a REScoop. After purchasing a cooperative share and becoming a member or co-owner of local RES and EE projects, members share in the profits and often are given the opportunity to buy the electricity at a fair price. In addition, Members can actively participate in the cooperative: they can decide in what and where the REScoop should invest, and are consulted when setting the energy price.
REScoops are leading the energy transition to energy democracy, and make it possible for citizens to actively participate in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The REScoop model has many advantages for both the climate, citizens and local authorities:
REScoops foster social acceptance for renewable energy
Local opposition to renewable energy projects (typically wind turbines) decreases when citizens are given the opportunity to invest in and co-own the production installations in their neighbourhood. This is especially true when local citizens are involved from the very start of the project. Stakeholder involvement and direct citizen participation foster social acceptance for renewable energy. Local citizens do not only share in the profits, they also have access to clean energy at a fair price.
REScoops keep the individual investment affordable
Not everyone has a roof suitable for solar panels, nor does everyone have the financial capacity to make such a considerable investment. REScoop production installations are typically owned by a large group of citizens, keeping the individual investment affordable.
REScoops benefit the local community
REScoops have a clear concern for the community. They usually share part of the profits with their members and use the rest to develop new projects or benefit the local community as a whole.Some REScoops for example have financed the construction of a local sustainable concert hall, while others constructed a charging point for electric bicycles. Thus, all citizens benefit from the projects and the profits that they generate.
REScoops keep money in the local economy
REScoops use local energy sources and include local citizens. Thus they keep money within the local community that would otherwise be lost. In addition, REScoops stimulate local employment and boost the local economy. REScoops take action on energy efficiency. The revenues that result from renewable energy projects are often used to finance energy efficiency measures in public buildings. Some REScoops have paid for insulation material for public buildings, while others have constructed a sustainable concert hall.
How does Pajopower collaborate with private citizens & local municipalities on EE?
Pajopower was founded in 2014 as a Belgian cooperative that aims to support sustainable development at the local level (i.e. Pajottenland & Zennevallei). The cooperative gathers financial resources from local citizens (members) and uses these funds to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. In an ideal scenario the decisions about these investments and the cooperative involve as many people as possible. Not only because they have a financial stake in the cooperative, but also because they have a personal interest in the development of a sustainable future in their municipality. One share costs 250 euro and is fixed for a period of 6 years. That’s because the cooperative wants to avoid sudden fluctuations in its capital. Pajopower is democratically owned so: each member has one vote in the general assembly, regardless of the number of shares he or she owns.
In collaboration with its founder, the NGO “Kyoto in het Pajottenland”, Pajopower sensitizes loca lcitizens for a more rational use of energy in their private houses. The cooperative provides consultancy services by means of an independent energy expert who conducts energy audit supon request. The audit report prioritises the measures that are needed to improve the energy efficiency of the house. Measures typically include rooftop insulation, double glazing, heat pumps, pellets, solar PV, etc. The energy experts calculate the investment that is needed, as well as the foreseen savings. This allows the expert to calculate the pay-back time for the initial investment.The expert also helps the citizens to find good contractors and leads them to potential subsidies for their investment. The expert finally monitors the construction works. Note that it’s the citizens themselves who finance the investment, the facilitation service is subsidised. A similar EEf acilitation service for private citizens will soon be replicated and up sized by Ecopower (Belgium)thanks to the REScoop MECISE project.
In collaboration with CORE, EnergieID, Efika and MOS Vlaams-Brabant, Pajopower is also taking action to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings, like local schools. The cooperative therefore uses the Third Party Financing model. The cooperative issues shares and uses the sefunds to finance the EE measures.
In a municipality South to Brussels Pajopower wants to replace convenient street lights by LED.The cooperative wants to use the Third Party Financing model.
Pajopower – www.pajopower.be
Ecopower - www.ecopower.be
Beauvent – www.beauvent.be
Energent – www.energent.be
Bronsgroen – www.bronsgroen.be
CORE - www.thinkcore.be
REScoop.Vlaanderen - www.rescoopv.be
REScoop.eu - www.rescoop.eu
EFIKA - www.efika.be
Kyoto in het Pajottenland – www.kyotoinhetpajottenland.be
EnergieID – www.energieid.be
Milieuzorg op School – Vlaams-Brabant
Private citizens, local authorities, public bodies (schools), Pajopower
The programme delivery unit is Pajopower cvba. The cooperative issues shares and allows local citizens to take action on EE in their private houses and in public buildings. For the latter they use the third party financing model.
So far 1.250 buildings have been retrofitted by Pajopower cvba. That corresponds to a total investment of nearly 4 million euro.