A year full of changes. Most prominently, our founding president Arik Theijsmeijer, announced that he was moving to his dream home on Manitoulin Island summer of 2018. We are sad to see him go, he gave the co-op a lot of heart and led the movement for many years. It will be hard to fill his shoes. Arik agreed to stay on the board until this AGM, but to make the transition smoother, Vice-President and President roles were switched. We thank him for his numerous years of hard work, dedication to the cause, community engagement and friendship. We wish him the best in his future endeavours on his island paradise.
Following a memorandum of understanding between SUN and reThink Green late into 2017, we had the privilege to welcome Scott Florence, acting Managing Director to reThink Green, as our Project Manager in January 2018. With all the logistics required to navigate partnership agreements, Feed-in-Tariff contract requirements, funding opportunities and negotiations, Scott was a valued help throughout the year. He also led the interviews and completed the paperwork for SUN to hire its first employee through the NOHFC program. After a lengthy search, we finally welcomed our intern Larysa Savrasykh on July 1st, 2018 for a one-year term. We now continue our partnership with Rebecca Danard, reThink Green’s Executive Director, back from maternity leave this January. It is a pleasure and an invaluable resource to work with the reThink Green team.
A major change to our initial plan, SUN decided to sell its Limited Partnership units when our Feed-inTariff (FiT) 4 project reaches commercial operation date (COD), expected to be in June 2019. Without available funds to contribute and prove to the banks that the project is financially sound, and with deadlines thrown upon us unexpectantly, we had to make a decision: either we i) borrow funds from Soventix to cover our half of the $1.8 million at 6% interest, and be responsible for half the maintenance and operational costs, or ii) sell our units at COD and transfer the co-op portion of the FiT contract to Trillium, a solar power co-op associated with Soventix. With unfavourable financial projections, the uncertainty of keeping the co-op for the next 20 years, and our backs against a wall, the board decided that its best interest was to sell at COD and receive an amount from Soventix to cover what we invested in the project. Negotiations with Soventix ensued.
To reiterate what Arik wrote in last year’s board report, the board wishes to maintain a triple-bottom line approach to the co-op’s goals: community building, supporting renewable energy, and creating a local green investment option. With FiT contracts gone, and vague information about net metering available, we wish to know the members’ opinion on what they wish the co-op to be. We are also looking at other renewable energy community co-ops to see what they have transitioned to, to get ideas and potential leads to pursue. If you have feedback you would like to send us, please write to us at email@example.com, or fill out our survey (will be available electronically after the AGM).
Thank you to the board members who volunteer their time month after month to make our projects and activities move forward. We appreciate all the members’ continuing support and feedback, and we look forward to finally see our FiT 4 project rise!
Best regards, Andrée-Michelle D’Aoust-Messier, President SUN Co-operative Inc