written by Krystal Eason, Marketing Director of the Energy Co-Op
Thomas Edison once said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!” Even though solar power wasn’t available commercially until the mid-1950s, Mr. Edison definitely recognized the potential of solar energy in our everyday lives.
Here at The Energy Co-op, we see the same budding possibilities for the future of Philadelphia’s solar economy. As a member-owned cooperative offering our members electricity service, we asked ourselves how our members could play a role in bringing more solar power to our grid. The answer revealed itself in a partnership with local solar installer Solar States. Together we are making it possible for all residents in the Philadelphia area to work towards creating a sustainable future.
You can join the movement to bring more solar power to your neighborhood in one of two ways. The first, and more obvious, is to put solar panels on your home. But for those who aren’t able to take this step, you can become a Solar Leader through The Energy Co-op and help financially incentivize those who are ready to put panels on their home. All that’s required is paying your electricity bill each month.
To understand how you can support solar power through your electricity bill you need to understand SRECs first. When a renewable energy source adds power to the grid, a renewable energy certificate (REC) is created for every megawatt hour of power generated. This REC represents the environmental value produced by renewable power. For solar specific certificates, they are referred to as SRECs. When a homeowner decides to put solar panels on their home, one way for them to finance their project is to sell the SRECs their system produces. Although the upfront costs are still there, once the homeowner’s system is installed, savings will appear through their electricity bill and additional income will be produced through SRECs, shrinking the amount of time it will take to recoup the costs of the investment. Securing SREC buyers, such as our Solar Leaders, minimizes the financial risks associated with a solar installation. This in turn encourages homeowners who are on the fence to move forward with their solar projects.
Why become a Solar Leader? The more solar power we can put in our grid, the better it is for everyone. If The Energy Co-op meets the goal of 50 new solar installations* in our area by the end of 2015, we could annually avoid emissions equivalent to:
• 185,089 pounds of coal burned
• 4,507 incandescent lamps switched to CFLs
• 410,280 miles driven by passenger vehicles
Plus, you would be receiving the highest percentage of local solar power available on the market. This is currently set at 5%, although we are looking for additional options for consumers to offset their electricity use with an even greater amount of local solar power at an affordable price.
The Energy Co-op believes “informed consumers make responsible choices,” so make sure to do your research whenever you choose an electricity supplier. There are other solar product options out there, but none offering the same kind of benefits as Solar Leader. Below is a table of what you can expect with Solar Leader as opposed to another national solar product.
To become a Solar Leader and begin leading the way to the future of Philadelphia solar economy, visit http://TheEnergy.Coop or call 215.413.2122 x16.
*This is equivalent to approximately 250,000 kWh