Neighborhood Energy Challenge - Wind Edition
Renewable Energy Challenge
The challenge is to switch to 100% renewable electricity by September 30, 2018. The City has partnered with CleanChoice Energy to offer every household a special rate of $0.086 per kWh for a regionally generated mix of 99% wind and 1% solar. Businesses also have a special rates.
The neighborhood team (same teams as the 2015-2016 Neighborhood Energy Challenge) with the highest percentage of households buying renewable energy will win the grand prize and bragging rights. To schedule a team event contact GinaM (at) TakomaParkMD.gov
Why a Renewable Energy Challenge?
This summer’s sustainability challenge supports the ongoing efforts to implement the 2014 Sustainable Energy Action Plan’s seventeen key strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The effort follows the successful Neighborhood Energy Challenge in 2015 - 2016 and the 2017 Car-Free Challenge.
The City of Takoma Park has long purchased 100% wind electricity through renewable energy credits for its own operations, and while residents and businesses have also been able to purchase renewable energy through a number of suppliers in Maryland, choosing the right supplier has been a barrier for many. Shopping the various suppliers, navigating confusing contract terms, misleading advertising, high rates, and unclear sources of the power has led only a small percentage (est. 5% - 8%) of businesses and households in the city actually to choose clean power.
To make the process easier and help the city achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals, The City of Takoma Park initiated an open proposal process and conducted research on rates, business reliability, power sources, and contract terms. The result is a partnership with CleanChoice Energy, a locally based Certified B-Corporation and renewable energy company that sources 100% of its power from wind and solar.
Community Solar Option
What's the difference between community solar, solar co-op, and buying renewable energy?
A solar co-op involves a large group of neighbors buying and installing solar panels from one contractor in order to take advantage of bulk pricing. Community solar does not require any installation of solar panels on your property, and sources solar power from a local project. Renewable energy is any type of power that is not generated by fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, or gas. Solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass are some examples of renewable energy sources. The difference between community solar and buying any kind of renewable energy is that some renewable energy may not be locally sourced or may be a different kind of power, such as wind. (However, CleanChoice and many other companies do source their power locally.)
What is community solar?
Community Solar is a way to buy locally sourced solar power that doesn’t involve installing any panels on your house. The company connects you with solar projects in your area and provides you with clean energy through your normal utility. One such company is Neighborhood Sun, a community solar organization based in Maryland.
How is it different from Pepco service?
Normally, the energy you purchase from Pepco comes from coal or other fossil fuels. Even though Pepco will still be your utility provider when you sign up for community solar, your power will come from renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.
Is it expensive?
Each project will be different. Neighborhood Sun’s price discount is 5% below Pepco’s average rate.
Does it count towards the city energy challenge?
As long as you buy renewable energy, you are eligible to participate in the challenge! Make sure to email GinaM@TakomaParkMD.gov so your household can be counted.
Can I use energy from both CleanChoice (or another clean energy supplier) and community solar?
These two sources are compatible. Some residents have opted to use CleanChoice as an alternative to regular energy in case they use more energy than their solar block generates.
What are some of the limitations of community solar?
Neighborhood Sun requires a 5 year contract and a credit check. If you have a lower credit score or don’t know how long you can commit, this may not be the source for you. There is no upfront fee to register, but there is a cancellation fee of $250. However, if you move out of your utility area and give at least 60 days’ notice there is no penalty.
Why wind & solar?
Unlike conventional electricity sources, wind and solar does not produce carbon dioxide or contribute to air pollution. CleanChoice Energy sourcing practices are wildlife-friendly. They source renewable energy energy from sites that have been assessed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory, The Nature Conservancy Priority Area and the Audubon Society. For more information see https://cleanchoiceenergy.com/news/wind_turbines_and_wildlife_issues/
Is CleanChoice Energy offering the lowest rate?
Takoma Park residents lock in a rate of 8.6 cents per kiloWatt hour (kWh) fixed for 12 months for 100% clean, pollution-free energy supply. After the initial 12 month term, you will receive a renewal notice with another exclusive rate for Takoma Park residents. CleanChoice will not raise your rates without notice, and the company has agreed to provide ongoing special rate just for Takoma Park. There are other companies that may offer a lower rate for national wind Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) rather than local ones.
What about businesses and restaurants?
Business owners can also purchase 100% renewable energy sourced from Maryland can sign up for an exclusive offer by visiting CleanChoiceEnergy.com/TakomaParkMD or by calling 1-855-563-9774.
Do I have to do anything to my home electric panel or roof?
No. In fact, you don’t have to change a thing. There’s no new equipment. There’s no interruption in service. Switching to clean energy is a simple thing you can do for the environment.
What about renters?
The only qualifications are that your home, apartment, condo, or business is in Takoma Park and that you pay your own Pepco electric utility bill every month. Just grab your bill, visit CleanChoiceEnergy.com/Takoma or call 1-855-621-3392 to enroll.
How will I be billed? What about Pepco?
All you have to do is sign up with CleanChoice Energy. You will still get your Pepco bill, and Pepco will still maintain the wires, and provide the delivery of your electric service. The only thing that will change is the electricity your home uses will be replenished by clean, renewable wind and solar sources supplied by CleanChoice Energy.
What if I move or change my mind?
CleanChoice Energy has no fees to switch. And there are no cancellation fees, so you can switch back at any time.
How much extra is this going to cost me per month?
The average house will see an increase in their monthly electric bill of about $10 – 15.
I can’t afford this but I really want to buy renewable energy.
There is a special rebate available for low to moderate income residents to help make up the extra expense of buying renewable energy. To find out if you qualify and how it works contact the Sustainability Manager at GinaM (at) takomaparkmd.gov
I already buy renewable energy, or want to buy from a different supplier.
Fantastic. Email GinaM (at) takomaparkmd.gov to make sure your household is counted in the team challenge, and the overall goal to reach 25% city wide. If you already buy from CleanChoice and want the new lower rate give them a call at 1-855-621-3392.
Do I have to choose CleanChoice Energy?
No. You can choose any supplier you would like. Be sure to compare rates, contract terms, and be sure the supplier you choose is approved by the public service commission http://www.psc.state.md.us/electricity/electric-supplier/
Why did the City choose CleanChoice Energy?
The City held an open bid process and selected CleanChoice Energy because it is the only company meeting all of the following at the same time:
• 100% Regionally generated wind and solar
• No cancellation fee
• 12 month guaranteed rate – with renewed discount after 12 months
• Certified B Corporation
• No investment in fossil fuels and/or nuclear
• Local company with employees and owner living in Takoma Park
• Support for neighborhood energy challenge
• Low-income grant fund to rebate low income residents the cost difference
CleanChoice Energy is also a member of the American Sustainable Business Council and the U.S. Green Building Council, and is certified with the highest available rating by Green America’s Green Business Network, the first and largest network of socially and environmentally responsible business.
How do I compare offers?
You can choose any supplier you would like. Be sure to compare rates, contract terms, and be sure the supplier you choose is approved by the public service commission http://www.psc.state.md.us/electricity/electric-supplier/
Renewable Energy Challenge
Neighborhood Energy Challenge - Wind Edition
Switch to 100% renewable energy by September 30, 2018 for special ratesMake the switch with CleanChoice Energy