“Sončna zadruga, z.b.o.” is a Slovenian energy cooperative that integrates into its membership those owners of buildings, who wish to renew the energy of these facilities. This can be a big public building (municipalities), business objects (businesses), as well as individual objects (citizens). It is a facility where the owner wants to replace heating oil by heating with biomass (pellets, wood chips), implement a solar power plant, build a biomass CHP, a.o. … In all these cases, solar cooperative makes the full investment, which means to take care of the necessary documentation to obtain the necessary approvals, project financing, and through selected providers also carries out and arranges the maintenance of equipment.
Till now, we finished 5 projects and thus we are managing 5 district heating systems based on renewables. One district heating system include also CHP system.
An example of biomass heating can demonstrate how this works in practice. The Sončna zadruga, z.b.o. is contracted to members of the cooperative about the agreement for the supply of heat at a price, which is substantially more favorable than if the owner – a member – of the cooperative continues to heat with oil. In this case the cooperative reshapes the existing, an (usually) outdated, furnace running on oil into a modern, ecological and highly energy-efficient biomass furnace. The Cooperative within the contractual time, supplies with heath and operates the boiler and district heating system.
Services of the Sončna zadruga, z.b.o., is dedicated exclusively to its members. As long as there is need for its services among its members, their services will not be offered to non-members. It can provide lower price of heating and electricity, because it will be able to offer selected equipment suppliers and energy providers access to “internal” market, and require of them, depending on the size of the market (ie, the number of members of the cooperative), discounts and other benefits. An important element in this regard is the fact that the cooperative has professional staff, which will be able to negotiate with the operators more competently than each member of the cooperative by themselves. This is a guarantee for the proper choice of technology and determination of reasonable prices.
Lower costs of energy consumption, which will provide the cooperative to its members, are not only the economic impact of its operations. Sončna zadruga, z.b.o., will have a significant impact on energy self-sufficiency, thereby also on the reduction the outflow of funds for the purchase of energy from individual Slovenian regions, as well as in Slovenia as a whole.