Frequently Asked Questions
Find here the answers to your questions about brupower.
A cooperative is a form of organisation distinguished mainly by itsdemocratic character.
All members (cooperators) are simultaneously customers and shareholders of the cooperative, allowing them to voice their opinionsand ensure that the organisation's strategic choices align with their personal convictions.
At brupower, all members (the cooperators) have the same decisionmakingpower ('1 member = 1 vote'), regardless of the number of sharesthey individually contribute to the capital.2.
There are several reasons to become a cooperator at brupower:
Your investment can make a difference in the local energy transition and contributes to concrete local renewable energy projects (reducing CO2 emissions), with clear social added value.
In the future, you can enjoy the benefits of locally produced and democratic renewable energy in your home.
As a member, you can take part in the organisation's big decisions.
You reduce Brussels' energy dependence on big multinational companies.
You contribute to the growth of local jobs, as citizen cooperatives have up to three times more economic impacts than traditional energy companies.
brupower members are invited every year to take part in generalassemblies in which the strategic decisions are taken that the Board and the permanent team then have to implement. Every member isallowed but not obliged to take part in the general assembly. It is important for brupower to be a true citizen cooperative (e.g. compared to financial cooperatives), which is why the General Assembly has a strong responsibility for the activities of the cooperative, and therefore its members.
In addition, it is important that the power is shared equitably among thecooperators. Thus, each legal or natural person has only one vote during the vote at the general meeting, regardless of the number ofshares it owns.
More information on our governance model can be found in a futureQ&A on “Governance”.
brupower limits the number of shares that a single shareholder can buyto 5% of the total equity with a maximum of 200 000 euros.
The 5% cap is calculated based on the targeted objective of the ongoingfundraising round. More specifically, the fundraising target for 2023 is 400 000 euros, this means that the maximum number of shares that one cooperator can buy for 2024 will be 400 shares.
Subsequently, when the cooperative capital reaches 4 million euros ormore, the maximum number of shares held by a partner will then be4,000 shares.
brupower recommends a minimum of 10 shares per individual (investment of 500 euros).
For organisations or companies, brupower recommends a minimum of 40 shares (investment of 2000 euros).
An investment of less than 500 euros (min. 50) is possible for members who cannot afford to pay more. During the current campaing (>2023) brupower estimates to raise 400 000 euros and install 375 kWp PV panels. With the profits generated by the installed production assets, the cooperative estimates that it can manage around 800 cooperators. This represents an average of 500 euros per cooperator, or 10 shares. Nevertheless, it is important that brupower remains widely accessible and inclusive for Brussels citizens. This is why the minimum share is set at 50 euros, not 500 euros.
In that context, brupower expects its members to take shares according to their means and in solidarity with the other members (possibly investing more when they can afford it).
Yes, one can buy multiple shares, and at multiple times.
However, there is a maximum limit on the number of shares that a single shareholder can buy, at 5% of the total equity or 200 000 euros. Moreover, additional shares do not convey additional voting rights as decision-making within brupower is according to a "one person, one vote" principle. Members can can also buy shares from one another with the approval of the Board.
brupower aims to use citizen capital to invest in low-risk renewable energy projects. This will start with the PV installation, an activity for which the risks and business plans are well known.
These projects will generate profits, through energy sharing and green certificates valorisation. These benefits will be used for local employment and the distribution of dividends. The employment in brupower is therefore funded by the profits generated by the installation and not by the capital itself, ensuring a low-risk use of citizen capital. These jobs will support the development and sustainability of cooperative activities (development and coordination of projects, centered on renewable energies and energy efficiency, but also information and awareness workshops, debates, info-events or other activities that empower citizens, in the field of energy).
brupower aims to keep the benefits (financial, but also in terms of produced energy and competences) local, so where possible, brupower wants to share the produced energy with citizens in the vicinity of our projects (see also question 16). Initially, the projects in the Brussels Capital Region are focused on solar (photovoltaic) panels, but in time, brupower would like to explore all options for renewable energy in an urban context.
brupower aims to develop renewable energy production projects (such as photovoltaic solar panels), with the people of Brussels. brupower members will, therefore, all be co-owners of brupower facilities. We primarily target installations on shared buildings (co-pro, offices, etc.) and public buildings (schools, administrations, etc.).
If you are looking for a third party investor to develop a collective project, brupower can intervene. In this case, we invite you to contact us with more details (the exact address, etc.), so that we can make a first assessment (mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are looking to finance your installation on your own, we suggest you look at the list of certified installers for Brussels, and ask for some invoices. As brupower does not have its own installation team, unfortunately, we cannot provide this service.
After having discussed it with several citizens, the lack of capital can be an obstacle to installing PV panels. To address that challenge, Brussels region has set up a very advantageous green loan for the installation of PV panels by individuals, at the following link:https://environnement.brussels/thematiques/batiment-et-energie/primeset-incitants/le-credit-ecoreno. There is also a Homegrade service specifically dedicated to this.
In case there is a net profit at the end of the year, an allocation will be proposed by the Board (Organe d’Administration). This allocation will be based on the following priorities :
legal reserve, which is mandatory by law;
the realisation of the purpose and objectives of the cooperative asdescribed in Article 5 of the statutes;
a dividend to shareholders based on the amount of capital they have invested according to the legal dispositions described in the Royal Decree of the 08th of January 1962.
This proposal is then voted on by the General Assembly. If the proposal is approved, the dividend is calculated based on the accounts of the previous year. The dividend is then paid out to shareholders on the account referenced on their membership registration.
The dividend payout is submitted to the respect of the double test (liquidity and solvability). The execution of the General Assembly’s decision will be operated by the Board, after checking that this payout will not endanger the capacity of the cooperative to face its debts.
The amount of dividend that can be paid to members is capped at 6%, following brupower's recognition by the Cooperative National Council (CNC).
Dividends are calculated per share. Each share triggers a dividend payment to its holder, when the shareholder has fulfilled all their obligations to the cooperative before the close of the previous financial year.
A member will thus receive a higher amount of dividends if (s)he holds more shares. The maximum amount of dividends that can be received per year is capped at 6% of the invested amount in accordance with brupower's recognition by the cooperative national council.
The Administrative Board is responsible for the daily operations of the cooperative. Therefore, it is its responsibility to ensure the economic viability of brupower. The Board will then suggest the dividend level based on the rules listed in the previous question. This percentage will then be submitted transparently to the General Assembly, which will accept or not the suggestion made by the administrative board. However, it is important to remember that brupower is a social enterprise, and the dividend percentage will not exceed 6% as long as the rules are established.
In the event of a shareholder's death, bankruptcy, apparent insolvency or declaration of incapacity, his heirs, creditors or legal representatives shall receive the value of his share certificates following the above provisions.
Shareholders are entitled to refund their invested capital based on theamount fully liberated by the shareholder. This amount cannot be superior to the share of the total value of the cooperative's assets based on the previously approved annual accounts.
In the case of the death of a member, the transfer procedure is described in Article 10 of the statutes. The designated heir(s) shall send via email, or signed letter, a request including the full name, profession and address of the deceased. This communication should include the amount of shares concerned and the allocation of the share. The price shall be indicated if the shares are sold to another member.
brupower's shares are held by name and thus non-transferable. To prevent speculation and ensure the financial stability of the cooperative, shares can only be sold, or purchased back by the cooperative, and only six years after their subscription.
If a member wishes to sell her/his share, she/he will first need to inform the Board (Organe d'Administration) of brupower. The Board will decide to accept or reject this sale based on the financing stability of the cooperative. The sale will be only validated after validation by the General Assembly of the annual accounts of the year during which the sale was declared.
Right of preemption: Before validating the sale of the share to the cooperative, the Board of Directors (Organe d’Administration) will offer the opportunity to all the other members of the cooperative to buy the shares for sale. The member wishing to do so will have to purchase the entirety of the shares – unless agreed otherwise with the selling member.
In cases where brupower pays dividends it will directly collect the taxes due on this dividend. In cases where the shareholder would be exempt from paying them, they can be reimbursed via their tax returns.
Any Belgian citizen (private person) who invested into the cooperative is eligible for the tax shelter.
What tax deduction am I eligible to ?
As an investor of brupower, you are eligible to a 45% tax deduction on the amount of capital that you have invested.
This tax deduction is only available the fiscal year during which your investment took place.The valid date for your investment is the date at which we receive your payment for your shares.
How can I claim my tax deduction ?
brupower will provide you with a tax sheet in march of the year of your investment. With this form you will be able to claim the deduction on your regular tax declaration.
brupower will inform the FPS Finance of your eligibility - and therefore the tax shelter should already be included in your return.
In order to benefit from the deduction, your shares must be fully paid up by the end of the subscription year. Otherwise, we will not be able to provide you with a tax form.
Yes, she/he will be named as the sole owner of the share and, therefore, the voting right attached to it. You can donate a share according to the same principles.
brupower is not an energy supplier (yet). However, brupower aims to share the energy produced by its local projects, so residents of Brussels living in the neighbourhoods around the brupower projects can use the surplus electricity.
This electricity is available at the cost needed to pay off the installation, and provides a cushion for new installations. Be aware that this electricity is only available at the time it is produced, electricity produced over lunchtime cannot be used at night.
Ecopower and Cociter are the cooperatives parts of the REScoop movement (respectively from the Flemish and Walloon regions). They both have a license to sell electricity to citizens. brupower does not aim to compete with Ecopower and Cociter, we aim to carry out the same activities, but in Brussels. The problem is that the license is regional, so Ecopower can sell electricity in Flanders and Cociter in Wallonia. We therefore need a new actor in Brussels, a.k.a. brupower.
Indeed, we are in close collaboration with Ecopower and Cociter, and are defining the possible ways of collaboration to provide local, renewable and citizen electricity in Brussels as well. In addition, brupower got accepted as a REScoop (citizen, renewable energy) cooperative in October 2022 and it is not a fincoop (financial cooperative).