Solar Owner News
Citizens Energy Cooperative of Wisconsin - Will It Dissolve?
By Robert Park
Dec. 20, 2007, updated Dec. 24, 2007, Jan. 15 and 24, Feb. 12, 14 and 24, 2008

The Director of the Citizens Energy Cooperative (CEC) and all but 3 of its 7 member Board of Directors have resigned. One of the remaining Board members has proposed a dissolution vote. (Dissolution of cooperatives is regulated under ch. 185 Wis. Stats. and ch. 193 Wis. Stats., subch. IX.)

The Coop was thrown into crisis by closure of its thermal collector supplier, Solar Mining Co., at the beginning of January, 2007. The CEC Web site was taken offline in November 2007. The CEC Bylaws require the Board to set a date and site for the annual meeting of members each February.

In Jan. 14, 2008 email, the 3 remaining CEC Board members decided to meet on Saturday Jan. 19 at 1 pm at the RENEW office, 222 S. Hamilton St. in Madison. (Copied on the email, besides the Board members, were former CEC Director Debra Lindgren, Kari Heinrich of Focus on Energy, and CEC member activist Robert Park.) The Board members decided to schedule an annual membership meeting for 1 pm on Feb. 23 in Madison, and asked that the CEC web site mirror at be continued.

Email to CEC members about the Feb. 23 meeting was sent out on Feb. 11, and the meeting agenda was posted by Solar Owner News on Feb. 12. Prior to the Feb. 23 meeting, answers to member questions were posted below:

A. CEC was the brain child of Richard Lane. Richard Lane was also one of the board members of CEC and one of the owners of Solar Mining. This is why Solar Mining and CEC were so directly tied together. I have always been a little nervous about this arrangement but as I was not a member and only subcontracted work from CEC and Solar Mining felt I should keep my nose out. I was also not aware just how deeply Solar Mining was involved in CEC financial affairs until recently. Hind site? If only someone other than Richard had the crystal ball CEC could have survived by selling a nice mix of name brand panels and using a diverse group of installers across the state that were responsible for their own workmanship. - Debra Lindgren, former CEC Director

Q. What is the status of the 3 large scale systems referred to as owned by CEC in the 2005 Annual Report?
A. [Following a Jan. 28, 2008 phone conversation with John Kress, Seth reported the following:] We briefly discussed the status of the large systems previously on the books of CEC as assets (HJ and YMCA). John confirmed that the bank had taken ownership of them, then he bought them from the bank, then he legally abandoned them to HJ and YMCA because he did not want the liability associated with owning them. He said that "legally abandoned" were his lawyer's words describing the ownership status of the large systems. - Seth Nowak, CEC Board member

The CEC annual membership meeting was held between 1 and 4 pm on Feb. 23 at the WECC building in Madison. Those attending voted not to act on the resolution to dissolve the cooperative at present. Minutes of the meeting will be posted here.