What does PowerMarket do?
PowerMarket is committed to making clean energy more accessible, affordable, and widespread. We do this by creating software to manage shared renewable projects, such as community solar. We work with big utilities (such as ConEd) and an array of solar developers to give them the tools and services they need to make these projects run smoothly and get more clean energy on the grid. We also work with a variety of environmental advocacy and community groups to do outreach and education about the energy transition we're in the midst of.
What are community/shared renewable projects (such as community solar)?
Community renewables are the sharing economy for renewable energy. Community solar is the most common form. Instead of installing a renewable energy project on your property, you subscribe to a piece of a large shared renewable energy project built in your area, such as a large solar project, wind farm, or hydroelectric dam. It costs you nothing to join, you save money on electricity, and you support new local renewable energy projects. Enjoy the benefits of renewable energy without the worry.
What does it cost?
It costs nothing to join; in fact, you'll save money on your electricity bill.
Why should I join a community renewable project?
You should join a community renewable project if you like saving money, love making a positive environmental impact, and want to participate in our transition to a sustainable energy system, without worry or hassle.
Who can join?
Renters, homeowners, small businesses operators, and places of worship are eligible. As long as your utility rate says residential, small non-residential, or religious, you should be able to join. And, as long as you're located in the same utility territory or "load zone" as the project, you can join that project. For example, people living anywhere in NYC's 5 boroughs can join a project anywhere in the 5 boroughs. A household in Brooklyn can join a project in the Bronx, and a bagel shop in Queens can sign up for a project in Staten Island. We'll help you figure out which project you can join if you're not sure.
How do I sign up?
to get started by filling in some basic information like your name, phone number and zip code. Then we'll help you choose a project based on what's available in your area and send you a link to complete registration. On our marketplace you will see a wide range of projects. Some may have differing terms and conditions, so be sure to check and read the project description. We're here to help, so if you have any questions as you navigate the marketplace or want some guidance on which project to choose, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call us at (800) 253-4333
How does it work?
When you sign up for a community renewable project, you'll get a share of a big project to meet your energy needs, based on how much you typically use. Each month as your share produces electricity, the amount of electricity generated is put on your utility bill in the form of a credit, deducting it from the amount you'd owe to your utility. Then, instead of paying the utility company, you pay the renewable energy project at a discounted rate, saving you money and directly supporting a local clean energy project.
If it costs nothing to sign up, why do I put in payment info?
While there is no cost to sign up, once your project starts generating electricity, you will receive a credit on your utility bill reducing your typical monthly payment. You then pay the renewable energy project for those credits at a discounted rate instead of paying your utility company, since your bill is covered. Let's use a good example: Sarah signed up for community solar and is excited to start saving on her monthly utility bill. The solar project started generating energy on October 1, and on Sarah's November utility bill, she saw a bill credit of $50 Nice! At the end of November, Sarah will then pay $45 to the project for the value of her $50 credit, saving 10%!
Which forms of payment can I use?
Right now, most community renewable projects only accept ACH as a form of payment (inputting your bank account and routing number). This is the most secure and efficient way to process payments, and it's part of the reason that this is able to be offered at a discount to your current utility rate. We encrypt all of your payment information to ensure the highest level of security and protection. From time to time, certain projects may offer other payment forms; these will be detailed on the project's signup page.
I already have clean energy with an ESCO (Energy Services Company/Supplier) like Green Mountain Energy. Can I still sign up?
Yes! You can maintain your ESCO contract and still join a community renewable project. You can do both. Since you typically pay a little more with ESCOs, joining a community renewable project will allow you continue supporting existing renewable energy projects, while also saving some money and having a tangible connection to new a local project.
Do I need to put anything on my roof?
No! That's the beauty of community renewables. You get all of the benefits of clean energy without having to install anything at your home or business.
What if I move?
If you move within the same utility zone, you can still be part of the project, just let us know so we can make the changes on your account. If you move to an area where we don't have a project, you'll unfortunately have to cancel your membership.
What if I want to leave the project?
If for whatever reason you want to leave, terms and conditions may vary depending on the project. It's important to review your subscription agreement to see if there are any particular requirements. In most cases, you simply have to give a certain amount of notice so we can find someone else to take your spot.
Are you an ESCO (Energy Services Company/Supplier)?
No. ESCOs act as intermediaries with your utility to buy and sell electricity supply and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from existing renewable energy projects around the country. With ESCOs, you typically pay a little extra to support these projects. With community renewables, you subscribe directly to a local clean energy project being built in your area, at a discount to your current electricity rate.
Are there any issues with reliability? Are you replacing my utility company?
Nope. You will have the same reliability that you have always had. Nothing will change except now when you receive your utility bill, you will see your bill credit applied, reducing your monthly energy costs. Your utility company still maintains the physical grid system, ensuring reliability, and delivering the electricity you use to power your home, business, or place of worship. We work with utilities to get more renewable energy on that grid system and transition to a more sustainable future.
What will my bill look like?
Here's an example of what your old bill looks like versus your new bill when you're subscribed to a community renewable project:
Bill With PowerMarket
Credits Applied: -$100.00
What happens if the community renewable project I'm subscribed to goes offline? (ex. A storm damages my community solar project and it has to go offline for repairs).
If for whatever reason, the project you're subscribed to goes offline, you'll still be getting electricity from your utility company, but you temporarily won't be getting the discount from your renewable project subscription. (i.e. things will go back to how they were before you subscribed). If a project has to shut down completely, we'll help you switch to another project in your area if one is available.
How is Eco Impact calculated?
Source: EPA Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculator
For every kWh of energy produced by a community solar project, one less kWh can be produced by non-renewable energy sources.
Avoiding non-renewable energy sources reduces carbon emissions.
On average, 1 kWh of non-renewable energy produced yields 0.000707 metric tons of CO2.
1,559 lbs CO2/MWh * (4.536 * 10-4 metric tons/lb) * 0.001 MWh/kWh = 7.07 * 10-4 metric tons CO2/kWh
Thus, for each kWh of renewable energy produced, 0.000707 metric tons of CO2 are offset.
The average passenger car emits the equivalent of 0.000409 metric tons of CO2 per mile driven.
8.89 * 10-3 metric tons CO2/gallon gasoline * 1/22.0 miles per gallon car/truck average * 1 CO2, CH4, and N2O/0.988 CO2 = 4.09 x 10-4metric tons CO2E/mile
In one year, the average urban tree sequesters 0.0060 metric tons of CO2.
36.4 lbs C/tree over 10 years * 1/10 * (44 units CO2/12 units C) * 1 metric ton/2,204.6 lbs = 0.0060 metric ton CO2 per urban tree planted
Pounds of Coal Avoided
On average, burning one pound of coal emits 0.000915 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
21.11 mmbtu/metric ton coal * 26.05 kg C/mmbtu * 44 kg CO2/12 kg C * 1 metric ton coal/2,204.6 pound of coal x 1 metric ton/1,000 kg = 9.15 x 10-4 metric tons CO2/pound of coal
What's the catch? This sounds too good to be true.
It is good! It's also true. You can directly support new renewable energy projects while saving money on electricity. The only downside is perhaps that for now, there is a two-step billing process where you get your utility bill with renewable energy credits, then pay for those credits at a discount. Fortunately, all of this is done electronically and can be set up to do automatically to make it as easy as possible.