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A better way to do business

On January 1, 2011, Namaste Solar became an Employee-Owned Cooperative. Our intention is to share the entire experience of small business ownership; not just rewards (profits) and control, but also risks (losses) and responsibilities, regardless of job role or title. We firmly believe this business model translates to better designs, installations, and customer experiences. As co-owners of the company, we all bring an ownership mentality to everything we do, as well as a level of personal accountability that our customers find refreshing in the world of contracting.

Our Cooperative Business Model

Namaste Solar has taken an uncommon approach to business. We choose co-ownership over hierarchy; democratic decision-making over centralized leadership; sustainable growth over aggressive expansion; collaboration over competition.

Download a PDF of our company model highlights.

The path we have traveled has been an extraordinary experiment, drawing on intellectual, philosophical, and political models that inspire us, while crafting something uniquely our own.

Our decision-making process consists of five levels: individual, peer review, committee/team, company-wide, and board of directors.

Co-ownership is attained through a one-year candidacy period. If the company and the individual agree there is a good fit, a common stock share is purchased by the employee and voting rights are established. We also have preferred stock available for external investors.

  • All co-owners participate in democratic decision-making on a one-person, one-vote basis.
  • We hold quarterly, full-day “Big Picture Meetings” (BPMs) to make decisions, review financial statements, discuss high-level matters, and facilitate team-building.
  • Transparency is practiced through open book management and access to all company information (except for protected info).
  • We maintain a 6-to-1 maximum ratio of highest-to-lowest total pay per employee.
  • “Patronage Dividends” are received by co-owners when we are profitable.
  • We practice Frank, Open, and Honest (FOH™) Communication.


Holistic Profit Measurement

As a cooperative, we don’t measure profit just in terms of dollars and cents, but also in terms of:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employee morale
  • Our involvement in the community
  • Our impact on the environment
  • How well we practice what we preach

“We the Owners”

Trailer produced by Foundation for Enterprise Development
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Cooperative principles

The co-operative principles as listed on the International Cooperative Alliance are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice. These guiding principles coincide with many of Namaste Solar’s values as well.

 For more on these principles, see ica.coop or ncba.coop.


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