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Collective financing of renewable energy projects in Switzerland and Germany

Comparative analysis and implications for energy transition policies


The transition to renewable energies (RE) is a costly endeavor and requires large amounts of capital. This research project investigates organizations that draw on collective financing of RE, in particular we will focus the formation of these organizations and the way collective financing is realized and organized.


Collective financing of RE projects contributes to financing the energy and broadens the capital base. Besides, it has additional benefits, such as the participation of citizens and municipalities in the management of RE projects, enhancement of local identification and generation of incomes and revenues for local economies. This research project focusses on organizatios that draw on collective financing, i.e. cooperatives and associations.

Topics and Goals

In order to provide answers to the question how collective financing can contribute to the energy transition, we will investigate (1) existing business models, financing strategies, and their dependence on the existing legal and institutional framework, (2) involved actors, their relationships and collaborations, (3) the impact of collective financing on the energy transition (RE sources, locational patterns, local dimension), (4) the major success factors and barriers, and (5) developments to be expected and how they can be managed and (positively) influenced by policy makers with the aim to advance the energy transition.

This will be achieved by conducting a comparative analysis of the development of collective financing of RE projects in Switzerland and Germany. Our research focusses on collective forms of financing electricity and heat production from any kind of RE source (except (pumped) storage power station) as well as on further RE-related activities such as transport (grids), trade, distribution and services (contracting, consulting etc.).


The research project consists of five modules:

  1. Analysis of legal and political conditions for collective financing of RE in Switzerland and Germany
  2. Survey of cooperatives and incorporated associations financing RE in Switzerland and Germany
  3. In-depth case studies of the identified clusters in Switzerland and Germany
  4. Future trends of collective financing of RE
  5. Lessons for energy transition policies


Methods to be used consist of literature review and analysis, a survey questionnaire, cluster analysis, in-depth case studies, interviews and workshops.