Raymond and Noella Pitre are CED Co-op members and investors from Cache Bay, East of Sudbury. They are strong believers in solar power, and the benefit of friendly, community-focused organizations. We spoke with Raymond about how they got involved with CED Co-op, and what he would share with prospective members.
How did you get involved with CED Co-op?
Let me recap a little bit. Before we got involved with the co-op, we had received a mailer about solar power from Vigor Clean Tech (a solar developer who has worked with CED Co-op). After talking with Jennifer Way, their Sudbury salesperson, we knew we wanted to get involved in solar ownership. We installed a 10kW microFIT at our farm in Noelville. From there we got to know everyone at Vigor, and those that would eventually support CED Co-op as well. When CED Co-op came along we invested a few dollars there too.
So print marketing isn’t dead, a simple mailer worked! What got you excited about solar power when you first received the pamphlet in the mail?
Well, the sun shines for everybody. We analyzed the information and thought, why not give it a shot. It’s not hurting the environment, it is eco-friendly, and it isn’t burning fossil fuels. Solar energy is the thing of the future, I’m sure.
Is that also what convinced you to join CED Co-op, adding to your support of solar power through investment?
We were talking back and forth with Carole Patterson (Manager, Business Services at CED Co-op) and organized a seminar at our place with her and Jerry Enns (founding member of CED Co-op). There we sold some more memberships and shares to interested friends.
It was all about good people and trustworthiness.
All I can say, is that CED Co-op is very friendly and family oriented. We went to the AGM one year and met everyone around the barbeque. We made good friends, and we stayed that way.
What do you look for in an investment opportunity?
In this case it kept the doors open and kept us in contact with the company – you’re such good people, always taking care of your clients. We like to know what is going on. We didn’t invest a big amount of money, but maybe we’ll invest more in the future.
It’s an open company, and so I think it’s a good company to invest in. Like it or not, solar will be the energy of the future, I’m sure.
You have said that twice now. Why do you think, “solar will be the energy of the future?”
The sun is always shining. We have to use that energy to be eco-friendly. Let’s not burn coal, burn fuel, or use uranium. I see a lot of fields covered with solar panels – they aren’t making any noise, or cause any problems. I believe in this.
This spring we went to the office in Petersburg and everyone was so glad to see us. It made us feel at home. This is how you create community. Up North we are used to co-ops, but they are more family oriented than corporate business. We trust the people here, and we trust the company.
What other co-ops are you a part of? It sounds like you value the community business model.
We spent maybe 50 years in the agricultural co-op stores here. We had a dairy farm and were supporting the co-op quite a bit. I’m also a member of the Caisse Populaire. One member, one vote.
You mentioned bringing people together for information sessions about CED Co-op. When you’re talking to friends, what are you telling them about joining?
I’m telling them that they could be a member of this co-op, which is supporting the future of energy. That opens up doors and then creates opportunities to invest. Of course it’s a good place to invest your money. Some people just want to be a member, but the opportunities will come along.
We are a little bit behind in Canada, but the way I see it, it’s coming along pretty fast. A lot of people, like it or not, will be depending on solar to survive. I’m really glad, and proud of what you guys have accomplished already. It looks like this company will go a long way.
I also tell friends about the people and the projects. You are all super people. Everyone I have met have all been wonderful. The hospitality, and the kindness of everyone, it’s the only way to be, the only way to do business these days. We will always feel part of the company, even as it grows.
Of course the projects are excellent as well. I went in to see the project we have a Blind River. That’s a huge project!
Is there anything else you would like to add for all our members and prospective members?
The only thing I can add, is that you can give people my number and we can talk some more!
Thank you to Raymond and Noella Pitre for your passion and support as we grow CED Co-op and invest in renewable energy for Ontario.
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