Research Handbook on Sustainable Co-operative Enterprise
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Research Handbook on Sustainable Co-operative Enterprise

Case Studies of Organisational Resilience in the Co-operative Business Model

Edited by Tim Mazzarol, Sophie Reboud, Elena Mamouni Limnios and Delwyn Clark

Co-operatives are found in all industry sectors and almost all countries around the world. However, despite their significant economic and social contributions, the academic literature has largely ignored these important businesses. This book is a detailed examination of the co-operative enterprise business model and the factors that help to enhance its sustainability and resilience, as well as those forces that lead to its destruction.
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Chapter 27: Citizen-based co-operatives in the field of renewable energy: the case of Solargenossenschaft Rosenheim

Elisabeth Reiner, Richard Lang and Dietmar Roessl


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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