Eating & Drinking

URBAN HIPPIE: Courting local green investors — meet the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative

The Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative is looking for green investors. Photography by Christian Lalonde / Photolux

Urban Hippie by Jen Lahey is published every second Tuesday at OttawaMagazine.com. Follow Jen on Twitter ‏@Jen_Lahey.

Potential new members are invited to join the OREC team at their AGM on Nov. 22 to learn about projects and the OREC model. http://ottawarenewableenergycoop.ca.


Looking to invest in something that actually matches your green values? Or maybe you’re super nerding out about solar energy, but your house faces the wrong way or just isn’t suited to installing a set-up.

One Ottawa initiative aims to give savvy investors a chance to meet these varied needs. Janice Ashworth is the operations manager of the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative and she says that OREC is a way for investors to make the community both greener and more self-reliant.

So how does this whole thing work?
Here are the basics: The co-op works like this: Investors buy in, then OREC pools that money to buy renewable energy systems in the city. The idea is for members to contribute to green power in Ottawa, even if they can’t install their own system where they live. Plus, more people equals more buying power.

Anyone is welcome to buy in, investments are for 20 years, and there are yearly dividend payments plus return of capital. An added bonus is RRSP transferability: Existing or new contributions to self directed RRSPs can be transferred into OREC shares. Membership is $100 for life and investments (at least in the first share offering) were a minimum of $5,000 and maximum of $100,000. OREC aims to pay a 5% dividend annually on the remainder of capital and a return of capital starting in year six.

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