Elektropionir gets to work on Serbia’s first two co-op power sites

The solar power plants will be set up on the Stara planina mountain this spring

Serbia’s first two co-op energy sites are due to be installed this spring, following the successful fundraising efforts of energy co-op Elektropionir.

The Solarna Stara project will install two solar power systems on the Stara planina mountain, in south-east Serbia. The solar panels will be on the roofs of a local council building in the village of Temska and on the cultural centre in the village of Dojkinci.

Elektropionir co-founder Ana Džokić told Balkan Green Energy News that the project is a partnership between the local authorities who own the buildings, the local community associations who use them, and Elektropionir. A contract has been drawn up between the three parties, which when signed will lay out the terms for future co-operation.

The revenues from the energy will be distributed across local initiatives and projects, says Džokić.

Last June, Elektropionir launched a crowdfunder to support the Solarna Stara project. In one month, 229 donors donated a total of RSD 972,452.00 (GBP £7,311), 116% of the target amount. The extra funds have allowed the project to add two more solar panels, raising its power from an expected 5.25 kWp to 6 kWp.

Founded in 2019, Elektropionir is one of just two energy co-ops in Serbia. The co-operative has members from cities and towns across the country and is not tied to a specific region.  Elektropionir was founded with the aim of democratising energy and works to enable citizens to be actors in the energy transition.

With the Solarna Stara project, Elektropionir says that it wants to “show that all citizens can be initiators of change towards sustainable energy and that this is not a position reserved exclusively for large investors”. 

Elektropionir states that “energy must be clean and can be jointly owned”, adding: “The co-operative tradition exists in Serbia, and now we apply it to the production of energy from sustainable sources.

“Our first co-operative rooftop solar power plants on Stara planina will be a demonstrative example that, through the association of citizens and solidarity, we are ready to turn from destructive and unsustainable technologies to greener and nobler solutions.”