Assessment of Citizen Cooperatives

Features favourable for municipalities

Features NOT favourable for municipalities

  • Direct involvement of citicens into implementation of municipal energy strategies

  • Transformation from a centralised market dominated by large utilities to a decentralised market with many active energy citizens

  • When they can decrease unemployment by integrating inhabitants into the cooperative to produce energy/ necessary raw materials (energy plants, etc.)

  • Increase of both energy and financial independency

  • Suitable mainly for large and complex projects

  • Hardly possible without active involvement of citizens and their participation in benefits coming out of these cooperatives

  • If the cooperative operates contrary to local regulations

Types of EE projects or EE services suitable to be financed this way

  • Renewable energy projects – solar power plants, micro hydro power plants, wind farms etc.

  • Projects producing fuel for renewable based energy generation (e.g biomass), similar developments with low technological but high human work intensity characteristics

  • Renovation or new construction of condominium buildings

Recommendations for deployment

  • All citizens should be eligible to join. After purchasing a cooperative share and becoming a member or co-owner of local RES and EE projects, members share the profits and are given the opportunity to buy the energy at a favourable price.

  • Setting up »platform« with respect to specific regulatory and market conditions of region/country bringing together all market players: citizens, associations and economic actors in their territory.

  • Social campaigns showing the success of this method in other regions and countries


  • In Judenburg, Austria a PV park of the Stadtwerke Judenburg was partly financed by a citizens' cooperative. It was organized as a Sale & Lease back model. Citizens could buy up to 10 PV modules for 650 € per unit and got an interest rate of 3.125 % on their investment. The interest is balanced on the customer's electricity bill. The minimum time of the contract is five years.

  • Participation in an e-car-sharing model together with other private and business users is a way to use an additional vehicle for official trips.

  • The examination of the legal and social background of setting up citizen cooperatives will be recommended in the roadmap for Tolna County in Hungary. Expected areas of activities are producing fuel for renewable based energy generation (e.g biomass).