Description of the model

Across the world, including in Canada, non-profit entities, charities and social enterprises are becoming increasingly involved with renewable energy generation. For these groups, ownership of a renewable energy project can generate additional economic resources (through additional income and/or energy savings) to be used in the pursuit of their missions.

Enabling policies and application of the model across Canada

The missions, activities, and ultimately legal structures of these non-profit entities show a great deal of diversity across Canada and globally. These entities include but are not limited to:

  • Housing associations and co-operatives
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Cultural associations
  • Professional societies
  • Foundations and Charities

Depending on their legal structure and the jurisdiction they are located in, non-profit entities typically require some form of governmental incentives such as tax exemptions or cuts, feed-in-tariff programs, and loans and grants for project development. It is also common for the private and third sectors to offer loans and grants for non-profit entities pursuing renewable energy projects.

An increasing trend across Canada, but especially in Ontario where the Feed-In Program facilitates it, is faith-based organizations investing in renewable energy projects. Listed below are some of these projects:

Place of Worship Legislation Technology
Agricola Lutheran Church Toronto, ON Solar
Noor-ul-Islam Mosque Barrie, ON Solar
Darchei Noam Synagogue Toronto, ON Solar
Devi Mandir Temple Pickering, ON Solar

Faith-based groups of all traditions in Canada can benefit from the Greening Sacred Spaces initiative by the national inter-faith organization Faith & the Common Good, which “assists faith communities with both the educational and spiritual dimensions of greening as well as the ‘how to’ side of audits, retrofits and generally reducing a faith community’s ecological footprint.”

Another significant example of non-profit involvement in renewable energy generation is the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (SPCA), which is the co-owner of two wind energy projects in Nova Scotia with a combined capacity of 6.7 MW. SPCA will be generating income from the projects for the 20-year course of its Community Feed-in Tariff (COMFIT) contract with the government. Here, again, feed-in tariffs are enabling participation from the not-for-profit / social enterprise sector in renewable energy projects.

You can find more renewable energy projects developed by the not-for-profits and social enterprises from across the world on this webpage. 


  • Non-profit entities / social enterprises are increasingly turning to renewable energy investments to generate additional economic resources for the fulfillment of their social missions;
  • These entities are formed by groups of various backgrounds and missions, including but not limited to cultural, faith-based and professional organizations;
  • Depending on their legal structure and jurisdiction they are located in, non-profit entities and social enterprises can often benefit from governmental, private and third sector support mechanisms;
  • The feed-in tariff (FIT) is the most effective policy tool to enable participation from the not-for-profit / social enterprise sector in renewable energy projects.
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