The call to have companies, organizationsand communities practice sustainable practices has never been higher in the modern day business environment. Corporates and organizations are some of the leading sources of environmental pollution. Some of them even go to an extent of blatantly polluting the environment with a little care in the world. The modern day corporate organization has to live up to the principles for it to be recognized and acknowledged as responsible entity. Such calls for protecting further pollution of the environment have led to the need for cooperative organizations to come up with measures to collectively make use of renewable resources. What are called electric cooperativesusually follow a corporative organization model that guides them towards sustainable practices in their service territory.
Electric cooperatives are independent and private non- profit electric entities that are owned by consumer members (Crowell).The cooperatives are governed by Cooperative principles that essentially define their services delivery. They are known as the “Rochdale Principles.” They make sure they are anchored firmly in the communities they serve and hence consumers can regulate them quite efficiently. The Directors serving in the Board of Trustees are elected by members. The local cooperative board establishes the rates. The cooperatives principles are the model of operations, and they include a few guidelines. The first one is voluntary and open membership meaning that anyone within that community or service territory can become a member when they wish (Crowell). The second one is democratic member control meaning that the directors are elected by the co-op members. The third one is the member’s economic participation where the budget of the co-op is accessible. It also means that the service payments and membership fees make up the control capital (Crowell).

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The fourth principle is autonomy and independence meaning they are self-sustaining where the members have absolute control. The fifth one is education, training, and information meaning that elected directors, managers or employees receive training on various subject areas (Crowell). They have the responsibility of informing the public concerning the benefits and nature of the cooperation. The sixth one is cooperation among cooperatives that means that regional and national associations are necessary for growth and cooperative interests. Lastly, it is the principle of concern for the community where cooperatives work for the communities’ sustainable development (Crowell).

Photovoltaic solar panel projects are some of the projects that are pursued by the cooperatives and are aimed at bringing together communities and interested parties. Photovoltaic solar panels are devices or equipment that generates electricity directly from the sun through an electronic process via semiconductor materials (Boxwell 17). Solar energy frees up these electrons that in turn travel through an electronic circuit to be used as power by electronic devices. Such projects advocate for the use of the sun as a renewable energy and in the process contributes to protecting the environment. There is immense energy from the sun that can be tapped and it not only protects the environment against pollution but also saves corporates and companies costs. The purpose of cooperatives is pooling resources towards a collective pursuance of the set goals. An individual can find it hard to finance a photovoltaic solar panel
project on his own as it is very expensive (Crowell).

The concept of distribution is one that refers to electricity that is produced at the point of consumption. The solar energy for distribution can have its location ground mounted or on rooftops. It ends up being connected to the distribution grid locally. The idea is a good one and stands to benefit the community and its entities that are found in that locality. First of all, it enables the off-setting of the peak electricity demand and at the same time stabilizing the local grid. It also reduces costs in the long-term for entities and community members connected to that grid. The whole idea is generally to make maximum use of renewable resources for sustainable practices (IEC).

Electric cooperatives can participate in the renewable solar power projects in various ways. Electric cooperatives have the capacity of bringing together members of the community in participating in solar projects towards exploiting renewable sources of energy. They can do this by pooling resources and coming up with big mega photovoltaic solar panels that can then be used within the service territory. Electric cooperatives can prove to be very useful since they can provide solutions to inconveniences and disruptions to the power supply. Electric cooperatives can also promote sustainable practices in encouraging communities to pursue such endeavors. Such cooperative that is proving to be of necessity to the residents is the Oklahoma electric cooperatives.

The Indian Electric Cooperative (IEC) is one such entity that serves the residents of Oklahoma by acting as a distribution cooperative of electricity. It is member owned and does operate for profits. The cooperative was incorporated in 1939 by the residents following the lack of electric power to serve the residents (IEC).Other residents in the other cities enjoyed the privilege of electricity, and they did not. Today the cooperative provides residents in the number of 14, 000 with electricity. That includes 18, 245 businesses and homes through a distribution mile of 3, 516 miles (IEC).Cleveland is its headquarters with 81 employees working in the cooperative. The Board of Trustees governs the cooperative.

The concept of cooperatives is one essential ingredient in the process of promoting photovoltaic solar panel projects in a service area. There are numerous benefits that justify such projects since they promote sustainable practices in the use of renewable energy resources. It is the same case with solar distribution energy that proves to be convenient in enabling the off-setting of the peak electricity demand and at the same time stabilizing the local grid. It also reduces costs in the long-term for entities and community members connected to that grid. Rustyn VanDeventer an Electrical Engineer working for Dashiell in Houston Texas says, “I think it’s a solution that we have only hit the cusp. Our planet is already solar powered, so it makes sense. The technology is still new and expensive, and the footprint is large per kilowatt. That’s what makes it not so viable” (VanDeventer).He could not have put it any better.

  • Boxwell, Michael. Solar Electricity Handbook: A Simple, Practical Guide to Solar Energy: Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems. Ryton on Dunsmore, Warwickshire, U.K: Greenstream Pub, 2010. Print.
  • Crowell, Ed. “The Cooperative Way: Model of business spans the globe”. Bluebonnet.2015. Internet Source. Accessed 20 January, 2016 from.
  • VanDeventer, Rustyn. Electrical Engineer. Dashiell in Houston Texas. 2015.
  • IEC.Indian Electric Cooperative. 2016. Internet Source. Accessed 20 January, 2016 from .