AGRIS Solar Co-operative

AGRIS Solar Co-operative

April 13, 2011 12:23 ET

Successful First Year for Farmer-Owned Solar Co-operative

CHATHAM, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 13, 2011) - The commencement of a $66 million initial construction phase for 2011 was reported by AGRIS Solar Co-operative Ltd. board president, David Malott to the co-operatives owners at its annual meeting held at in Chatham.

AGRIS Solar Co-operative is unique farmer-owned co-operative that allows both agricultural and rural landowners direct participation in the Province's MicroFIT program. AGRIS Solar represents more than 400 owners and 700 properties across Ontario.

"We have made significant progress on nearly every front in the past twelve-months," reported Andrew Clark, general manager of AGRIS Solar Co-operative. "We have tapped an enormous desire for direct participation in the agricultural community and received strong support for our market approach," says Clark.

"The government and hydro agencies have been responsive in our efforts to help us clear regulatory and policy hurdles. We are now working with them through some serious, but solvable, issues related to connectivity of specific properties. We are cautiously optimistic we'll find resolution here too. We have begun an aggressive construction phase and there is real excitement in the membership base," Clark added.

Announced during the meeting was a new 64 cent program AGRIS Solar Co-operative plans to market to other agricultural and rural communities across Ontario. This will be accomplished through town hall meetings and a direct-mail campaign to more than 15,000 farmers and rural landowners. "There remains significant demand for direct participation in MicroFIT among the agricultural and rural community so we're working hard to reach new members," says Clark.

"There are benefits for all members in an expanded program," said David Malott, "Spreading administrative infrastructure investment across more members reduces the cost per member. So we're asking all members to encourage friends and family to join up," says Malott.

Approximately 150 owners were on hand to receive reports and updates about AGRIS Solar Co-operative's inaugural year of operation. Significant milestones were achieved, which include becoming the largest manager of ground mounted MicroFIT contracts on behalf of members, securing a $41.4 million debt facility through Farm Credit Canada and the direct creation of more than 50 jobs primarily in the Chatham-Kent area.

During the meeting a number of bylaws relating to governance and administration were amended including increasing the board from six to seven members and changing the fiscal year end from August 31st to December 31st.

In addition AGRIS Solar Co-operative owners voted three directors to the board, Muirkirk area farmer David Malott and Kingsville area farmer Paul Repko were re-elected and Jim Maw who farms in the Courtright area will serve his first term. Following the annual meeting three board positions were determined including David Malott, president, Larry Pajot, vice-president and Jim Campbell as secretary.

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