Every Sunday in June of 2019, a small crew gathered in the basement of the Lakewood Public Library on Detroit Ave. This was the Lakewood Community Solar Fellowship, an organizing program created and facilitated by Jonathan of Cleveland Owns. By the end of the summer, we’d formed the Lakewood Community Solar Cooperative (LCSC).
When the fellowship began, all of us were strangers. But from the jump, we were united by an urgent concern about climate change and the desire to create local solutions to fight it. We shared pastries, chips, homemade hummus (great recipe, Kim), and coffee. On sunny days, we’d spread out on the library’s lawn, swapping stories. We explored our hopes for a more democratic and sustainable energy system. We began to see how collective ownership could be a powerful tool for changing our energy economy. Together, we settled on a goal: to develop, finance, build, and collectively own a solar garden in Lakewood. We’re energized by the benefits this project can bring to the city: more green energy, more local ownership, strong relationships built around environmentalism, and an enriched conversation about climate change and energy equity.
In early 2020, we joined with a similar group, also connected with Cleveland Owns––the Detroit-Shoreway Solar Investment Cooperative (DSSIC)––to form the Cleveland Solar Cooperative (CSC). CSC is what we call a “cooperative of cooperatives”: it’s the legal entity through which LCSC and DSSIC operate. Right now, three of LCSC’s members serve on CSC’s Board of Directors: Ralph, Kim, and Will.
LCSC believes in cooperative business principles, anti-racism, and the urgent need for a Just Transition to a clean energy economy. We always welcome new member owners, and right now we’re in search of a community partner to host our first solar project. Get in touch with us to learn more about who we are, how we work, and how you can get involved!