Consumer Options for Green Energy
Updated: Jun 9
Understanding residential options for switching to green power can be confusing! Keep reading to understand the different ways that residential consumers can power their home with 100% renewable energy.
Depending on your state, the options available to residential consumers are to install solar panels, switch to a renewable energy electricity provider, subscribe to community solar, or buy renewable energy credits.
Rooftop Solar Panels:
Rooftop solar panels are a great option for homeowners with a suitable roof. Rooftop installers recommend that roofs are south-facing, slanted 30-40 degrees, with no shade obstruction, 400-600 square feet, and in good condition. Solutions can be found if your roof doesn’t match all of those requirements exactly!
Solar panel systems are quoted in cost per watt, and the latest average is $2.91/watt. How many watts a household needs depends on the electricity consumption of that household, how much of their total bill they want to offset, and how many solar panels their roof can accommodate.
So if a house requires a 7KW system, it will cost $20,370 before the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). In 2020, the credit discount rate is 26% so the system would cost the homeowner $15,074, but the credit reduces to 22% in 2021 and 10% in 2022.
What gets tricky is net metering. When the electricity consumption is less than generation, the electricity is “sold” to the electric grid and the household gets bill credits. When the electricity consumption exceeds generation, which might happen due to Zoom school or at night, power will switch over to the grid and the household is billed for that electricity. At the end of the month, the household will pay the balance.
Rooftop solar panels are good for the environment and may be good for a household’s wallet as well. The average payback period for solar panels is 8.5 years. The good news is that the cost of residential solar has declined dramatically in the past 10 years making it more accessible to more households.
To install solar panels, consumers will need to decide on the panel manufacturer (e.g. LG, SunPower), the solar panel installer (national and local installers), and potentially the method of financing.
Up to 80% of households cannot install solar panels on their home because they are renting, living in a multi-tenant building or condo, do not meet the roof requirements, have too much shading, or other renewable energy from a soon-to-be constructed solar farm.
Our subscription allows customers to enjoy an emotional connection with the source of their electrons, creating their environmental legacy, while providing customers with predictable energy costs at well below the average retail rate for electricity in Texas.
To bring this to life, customers are asked to either pay up-front for 10-years of solar energy or to finance the solar panels and pay a monthly bill for the length of the contract. Either way the customer gets real solar energy from a nearby solar farm at below market rate.
Sign up for more information about the Ennuity Holdings product here: https://www.productlaunch.ennuityholdings.com/
Retail Electricity Providers:
Consumers that live in 16 states with deregulated electricity markets, can choose the supply of their electricity. This means that households can switch from the utility provider to a retail electricity provider that sources its electricity from 100% renewable energy sources. Retail electricity providers go by different names in different states, for example they are referred to as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) in New York State.
Many states offer websites to compare rates, such as http://powertochoose.com/ in Texas and consumers typically have to sign up for a 6-month to 3-year contract. Consumers should be cautious though of where the renewable energy is coming from and confirm that the energy source is 100% solar or wind.
In addition, consumers have to be careful of contract tricks that end up costing the consumer more, such as fees for early cancellation or for exceeding an electricity consumption threshold. Some states even have energy brokers that offer energy shopping services, so that customers don’t have to spend their time navigating contracts.
Community solar is another option for those who cannot install solar panels on their rooftop and is available in 39 states, but 74% of the market is concentrated in Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. Also known as shared solar or solar gardens, it is a model in which customers can buy or lease part of a larger, off-site solar system.
Customers typically pay monthly for both their solar farm lease and their electricity bill. They then see the savings in the form of bill credits equal to the amount of solar their share of the farm produced. Ennuity Holdings improves this model by providing the customer one monthly bill and by reaching customers in Texas who currently don’t have access to community solar.
Renewable Energy Certificates:
Finally, residential consumers can buy Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset their carbon footprint. A REC represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable electricity generated and provided to the grid.
Consumers can buy these directly through sites such as Terrapass, or through their utility provider. Other companies, like Arcadia, also offer options to match consumer’s energy consumption with wind or solar RECs for a nominal fee every month. Most customers usually have to pay additional for RECs, while products like Ennuity Holdings can offer savings and still deliver 100% renewable energy.
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