Pennies For Power



Solar Energy Available to Everyone

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as Green tags, Renewable Energy Credits, or Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs), are tradable environmental commodities in the United States which represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource.  Certiificates can be sold and traded and the owner of the REC can claim to have purchased renewable energy. While traditional carbon emission trading programs promote low-carbon technologies by increasing the cost of emitting carbon, RECs can support carbon-neutral renewable energy by providing a production subsidy to electricity generated from renewable sources. It is important to understand however, the energy associated with a REC is sold separately and is used by another party. So when you purchase a REC you get only a certificate.  In states which have a REC program, a green energy provider (such as a solar array) is credited with one REC for every 1,000 kWh or 1 MWh of electricity it produces (for reference, an average residential customer consumes about 800 kWh in a month). A certifying agency gives each REC a unique identification number to make sure it doesn't get double-counted. The green energy is then fed into the electrical grid (by mandate), and the accompanying REC can then be sold on the open market.

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Photographs provided courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Labs and the Department of Defense

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