In 2013, the state of Minnesota developed a program to promote “community solar gardens” in which utility customers purchase shares of local solar photovoltaic energy facilities. This was designed to address a problem many people in the state were facing: they would like to use renewable energy, but cannot install their own solar systems either because they rent the property where they live, or because they do not own a house or building on which a solar array can be effectively installed. The state has made the process as simple and transparent as possible. As a result of this policy, a large number of solar cooperatives have been formed. According to Xcel Energy’s October 2016 monthly update on community solar gardens to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, applications have been filed for 214 project sites since 2013, including 85 projects being designed and 33 projects in the construction phase of the Solar*Rewards Community process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born in Germany and having grown up in Thailand, Korea, and Greece, Wolfgang Hoeschele pursued his higher education in the US, culminating in a doctorate in geography at Pennsylvania State
Born in Germany and having grown up in Thailand, Korea, and Greece, Wolfgang Hoeschele pursued his higher education in the US, culminating in a doctorate in geography at Pennsylvania State University. He then taught geography at Truman State University in Missouri from 1998 until 2014. His research at first focused on land degradation in the state of Kerala in southern India, but subsequently turned to a critique of an economics that finds value only in scarce commodities, because only those are profitable. Instead, he promotes an economics of abundance, that seeks to ensure that all people, regardless of their backgrounds, now and in the future, are enabled to live well. These ideas are explained in his book (The Economics of Abundance: A Political Economy of Freedom, Equity, and Sustainability, Gower in 2010). Some of the key features of an abundant economy consist of shared ownership of important resources and assets, and increased self-reliance at household and community levels. In fact, virtually all the ideas promoted on shareable.net would form part of an economy of abundance.
Wolfgang Hoeschele now lives in Heidelberg, Germany, focusing his efforts on a systemic analysis of the faults in the economic system that prevent us from living sustainably and abundantly, and on promoting ways to fix those systems faults.
Things I share: Knowledge, insights, books, bike riding, gardening in a community garden