Chapter 27: Citizen-based co-operatives in the field of renewable energy: the case of Solargenossenschaft Rosenheim
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In recent years, the number of energy projects involving citizen participation in Germany has risen considerably (GVB 2010: 40; Volz 2011). Many of these projects are organised in the legal form of a co-operative. The case study discusses one of these energy cooperatives, Solargenossenschaft Rosenheim. It inquires into the role of the co-operative in creating and sustaining membership value in the innovative field of renewable energy production. Firstly, the chapter addresses the research context and the method. Secondly, the development of the renewable energy movement in Germany is sketched in order to supply the background information relevant to the present case study. Subsequently, the case example, Solargenossenschaft Rosenheim, is introduced, in particular with regard to its history, business model, and membership structure. In a concluding section, the research questions raised are discussed. Moreover, the implications derived from the case about opportunities and limits of citizen-based energy co-operatives in the process of social innovation will be presented.

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