energy transition

Zusanne Solar: energy transition rewarded

This Friday, November 18, on the occasion of the European Solar Prize 2016 held in Barcelona, Energie Partagée and its partners were distinguished for their participation in the cross-border and citizen solar energy production project "Zusamme Solar" in Colmar. Presentation.
Organised by the European Renewable Energy Association (EUROSOLAR), the European Solar Prize rewards cities, companies, organisations, cooperatives and individuals who take the issue of energy transition into their own hands. This is the case of the "Zusamme Solar" project initiated by the Alsatian cooperative Energie Partagée.
"While some European governments are trying to concentrate the development of renewable energy in the hands of energy oligopolies, citizens around the world are leading the energy transition to 100% renewable energy and pushing for an energy democracy". said a delighted Josep Puig from EUROSOLAR Spain.
Driven by the enthusiasm for photovoltaics in the years 2007 - 2008, a first group of 25 inhabitants of the Haut-Rhin region supported the creation of a cooperative energy company: Energies Partagées en Alsace.
Today made up of 37 individuals from the region, it has never ceased to spread the message of local energy, financed and controlled by citizens. Very quickly, it carried out awareness-raising actions aimed at reducing energy consumption (group purchase of LED lamps, animations and awareness raising at festivals, etc.) and highlighting innovative initiatives (visit to Freiburg for the cooperators).
And the co-operative didn't stop there. To demonstrate the relevance of a local energy transition, there's nothing like putting it into practice!
The cooperators then initiated the development of four photovoltaic projects in the region for a total power of 77 kWp.
In addition to the Rhine, citizen energy has long since become an integral part of culture. Located just across the German border in Freiburg in Brisgau, Fesa Energie is one of some 800 German energy cooperatives that have been set up as a result of a policy that favours the formation of local project companies.
Since 2011, thanks to its 68 cooperators, Fesa has in fact developed photovoltaic projects, up to more than 700 kWp to date.
It manages a park of photovoltaic and wind power plants for a total of 1.9 million euros, through various production companies.
One of its flagship projects is a 365 kWp power plant above the motorway in Freiburg.
The approaches of these two cooperatives are so close that they had to unite. This has been done with this project "Zusamme! "(literally "Together" in Germanisch, the hybrid language spoken in this border region), which made it possible to install four new 100 kWp photovoltaic installations, i.e. 2,600 m2 of panels on the roofs of industrial buildings in Colmar (precisely three in Colmar, one in Wintzenhein). These roofs in sheds created by the textile industry are well oriented but require more implementation work than simple roofs. There are still many examples in the Haut-Rhin.
"This partnership between French and German citizens to build solar roofs is a first in the region. We are proud to have been able to take part in this adventure, and hope to be able to initiate other cross-border citizen projects. There are great things to do in Alsace! »  declares Georges Audras, project leader.
For Erwan Boumard, Director of Shared Energy "The specificity of Zusamme is that it was financed and realised thanks to the meeting of an Alsatian energy cooperative (Énergies Partagées en Alsace), a German energy cooperative (Fesa) and the financial tool Energie Partagée. 100% of French and German citizens, who came together to create this cross-border facility, a symbol of the European energy transition, received funding for the project".
The installation was carried out by a professional in the region who uses photovoltaic modules of European origin, in order to avoid the CO2 emissions linked to the import of the panels from the end of the world and to support the European industry.
The plants started producing electricity in March 2015.

Funding 100% citizen

This project, the first example of citizen cooperation, costs around €800,000. To finance it, the cooperators have pooled their investment in order to gather the initial capital that guarantees citizen control of the project. Fesa contributed 50%, the Alsatian cooperative was able to gather 10% and the rest (40%) was contributed by Energie Partagée Investissement.
The Alsace Region has also made a major contribution to the project by allocating 120,000 euros in grants.
Thanks to its thousands of shareholders, Énergie Partagée's vocation is to invest in these projects so that they are 100% controlled by citizens. The tool has "advanced" part of the investment to the project to make it possible. The rest of the project was financed by the ethical bank La Nef, to make it a fully citizen and solidarity-based project.
Energie Partagée Investissement therefore invests in these projects so that they remain 100% controlled by citizens. Everyone can now, everywhere in France, support this project Zusamme! and become a co-producer of the solar energy produced!

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