We call our primary model for community solar ownership the "Commons Model" because it works by putting privately-owned roofs into the commons. It does this despite the fact that California does not have viable shared solar policy. It's a simple and proven model, and here's how it works:

1. A community comes together to form a Project Group. This Project Group will lead all elements of the project development, including fundraising and locating a site. People Power will lend a hand throughout by providing technical, administrative, and organizing support.

2. Community members invest $100 to $1,000 in the cooperative to become Owners of People Power Solar Cooperative. They are now members of the cooperative and co-owners of a solar project! They receive modest dividends on their initial investment.

3. The cooperative pools members’ investments to build a solar project on a property.. The project is installed by a third-party installer.

4. After installation, the property-owner begins to pay the cooperative for electricity. Each property owner will be pays less than or equal to what they’d pay with their local utility.

5. People Power Owners recoup the shared financial benefits of the project in the form of annual dividends on their shares. A portion of the electricity payments also go towards future projects and the growth of the cooperative!

We do this by enabling anyone to invest in and organize community-owned solar projects. You no longer have to be a property owner to be able to activate community powered people! And you don’t need to know all the nitty-gritty details about solar because we’re here to support you!


In March 2019, People Power Solar Cooperative installed our first project on the house of ‘No Coal in Oakland’ activist, lora jo foo, piloting a new model for community-owned energy in California. We believe it's the first cooperatively-owned residential project in California! People Power chose lora jo foo’s roof from a shortlist of other sites around the East Bay. Ms. foo was introduced to us by a group of five community leaders. You can read more in our press release here.

The residential-sized 7 kW project was financed entirely by small investments from more than 50 local community members and leaders -- the cooperative’s Owners -- who have each purchased up to ten $100 shares of People Power.

"For the past six years I've been active in the Keep It in the Ground movement, keeping oil and gas in the ground in my anti-fracking work and coal in the ground by stopping the building of a coal export terminal on the Oakland waterfront. While the work of fighting against the causes of global warming is important, equally important is the fight for renewable energy to replace fossil fuels. I am excited to be able to contribute to bringing more renewable energy to our community.”

- lora jo foo



We are currently working with local community organizations and leaders to develop a model that directs benefits to community members in East Oakland. Building off the success and learnings of our pilot project, we will work with a community partner to support the community-led design and implementation of a community-owned solar project in East Oakland. We’ll facilitate technical, legal, and administrative aspects of solar development in ways that ensure training and capacity-building within the community itself. The local community partner will lead the decision-making process, engaging with their constituents, organizing events, and building momentum and community interest in solar development in their community.


People Power is proud to be working with Ingleside Community Power, our first Project Group! This group is currently in the early stages of planning and is expected to begin development of its first Commons Model project in early 2020.