The solar industry has achieved some measure of success in India but is far behind when compared to some other countries. A large reason attributed to the slow growth of this sector is the lack of sufficient finance and the difficulty in securing loans for projects. Cooperatives in India have been around for some time and some have also tasted international success.
“Co-operatives are businesses owned and run by and for their members. Whether the members are the customers, employees or residents they have an equal say in what the business does and a share in the profits1.”
For more information on India cooperatives, please see Indian Cooperative2. There is absolutely no reason why cooperatives cannot help in promoting solar energy and expand into the lucrative renewable energy business sector.
Cooperatives maybe owned by any group of individuals and the ownership and operations is a collective measure and not individual. The common principle behind all cooperatives is that they are not simply a profit making enterprise but rechanneling the profits back to their members and in turn to the larger community.
Solar cooperatives can help even small owners who do not have the means for investing huge capital on costly solar farms to get a share of the growing solar industry. This can in turn also help owners to install solar PV systems at a fraction cost than at present.
If a community group comes together to install a solar system then they will most likely benefit from lower costs due to bulk purchases, they can also negotiate with the state governments for a buy-back program or rent their roofs for installation of such systems.
For consumers who live in apartments and do not have the luxury of a roof for installation of solar panels, can also benefit by investing in a community solar farm or any land resource which the community owns and investing in it as part of a cooperative and sharing the benefits.
Sounds improbable? Not quite. The program has already been successful in other countries and can easily be replicated in India.