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Island Community Solar Co-op Logo
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Become A Member

To empower individuals and communities in the Vancouver Island region to invest in transitioning towards a distributed renewable energy future by developing local solar projects.

Our Mission

For everyone to be able to participate in making solar power a significant contributor to energy self sufficiency on Vancouver Island.

Our Vision

As a business, ICSC is founded on the Three Pillars of Sustainability – social, environmental, and economic benefits.

As a cooperative, we believe in seven key principles:

  • Voluntary and open membership;

  • Democratic member control;

  • Member economic participation;

  • Autonomy and independence;

  • Education, training, and information;

  • Cooperation among cooperatives;

  • Concern for community

Our Values

We are committed to operating in ways that promote and advance social, environmental, and economic justice:

Our client outreach includes rural communities, First Nations and businesses/organizations that serve these communities.

Social Justice

We are committed to operating in ways that are good for the planet. Our low impact, decentralized solar PV power generation systems will reduce the demand on BC’s power grid, minimizing the need for future high impact large, centralized power generation systems, such as dams, and the need for additional transmission lines. This means we are helping to minimize the environmental footprints of society.

Environmental Justice

Our solar leasing program is meant to make solar an affordable option for those who may not have the cash to purchase a system or who may not be able to qualify for a loan to finance their solar system. Our solar leasing program is offered at no net cost to the client: the lease payments are equal to, or less than, what the client would pay for their hydro usage. Also, by becoming a member of ICSC, we give people an opportunity to invest in solar projects even if they are not able to have a solar system at their own home or work. Our goal is to make solar affordable and accessible to everyone!

Economic Justice

Island Community Solar Cooperative is a new social enterprise representing the changing needs and values of communities. We are a for-profit financial (investor) co-op, conceived to promote distributed, clean, solar electricity generation on and around Vancouver Island.

Our 2019 solar PV bulk buy-install program gave homeowners and businesses the opportunity to join together on the purchase of their solar systems and save up to 15% on the cost of a system.

Through our solar PV lease program, our end goal is to provide large community electricity consumers with a means of owning a solar PV system without an initial capital investment while providing green long-term Investors with a consistent and reliable return on their investment. We offer everyone a way to invest in solar and in return receive reliable and green financial benefits, whether or not an individual’s own home is suitable for a solar PV system. By investing in solar locally, we are helping Vancouver Island become more energy-independent. We currently generate only about 25% of the electricity demand we use right here on the Island. The rest is imported from the mainland via submarine cables.

We are currently assessing three attractive prospective client applications for our solar leasing program, any one of which could become our first member investment project!

What We Do

ICSC is currently in development.  Until such time as ICSC is turning a profit, all directors will work on a volunteer basis.

Our Board of Directors

Aerial view of a residential building complex with solar panels on the roofs

Ian Gartshore was a founding member and led non-profit Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island for fifteen years, passionately helping educate Islanders about energy efficiency and advocating for Island generated clean energy as well as spearheading the formation of Island Community Solar Coop.  Ian was also a driving force in the development of Nanaimo’s first car sharing enterprise (Nanaimo CarShare), which was later acquired by Modo.  He holds a diploma in electrical-electronics from BCIT and owns an energy efficiency company called Shore Energy Solutions, Ltd.  Ian is also a marriage and family therapist, a community animator, cyclist, champion of a healthy Earth, and lover of life.

Ian Gartshore

Founding Member/ President

Tim Benoit is a retired forest industry tradesman who has been interested in alternative building technologies and renewable energy systems since the 1970’s. A long time member of co-ops since his youth in the Prairies, he is enthusiastic to to bring those principles to assist in bringing solar electricity to Vancouver Island communities. Having been a volunteer tax preparer and investor for many years, he will bring financial experience to ICSC.

Tim Benoit

Treasurer

ICSC wishes to thank the following past directors for their service:  Contessa Abbott, Andrew Bowles, Gill Campbell, Kurt Fischer, Don Giberson, Kalie Gossen, Michael Kazyss, Paul Manly, Scot Merriam, Frank Pluta, Bill Woolverton and Trent Whaley.

Our History

Island Community Solar Cooperative (ICSC) was created in 2017 by members of Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island (ESVI), a non-profit society that promoted energy efficiency and clean renewable energy in the region.

Our roots go back to May of 2015 when ESVI and the City of Nanaimo held a Solar Energy Forum in Nanaimo. This event was attended by over one hundred enthusiastic people aware of rapidly escalating BC Hydro rates and excited by the rapidly dropping price of solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment.

At a follow-up open community action plan meeting held in June of 2015, attendees voiced support for investigating bulk buys of solar PV equipment, initiating a solar co-op to promote residential installs, and initiating a commercial co-op to sell solar PV-generated energy and distribute profits to members.

Subsequently, a smaller, dedicated ESVI solar PV subcommittee was formed to develop an action plan. The committee chose to embark on two related community solar PV initiatives, a Solar PV Demonstration Program and the Island Community Solar Cooperative.

Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island

Become a Member

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