Renewable energy, generated from clean sources like wind or solar, is a key part of our transition to an electrified future. As more and more machines like our cars and our heating systems switch from fossil fuels to electricity, we want to ensure that the energy powering those systems is sustainable and resilient.

Most homes get their electricity from their utility. Those utilities generate power in various ways – for example, they may have solar or wind farms, hydroelectric dams, a natural gas, coal, or nuclear power plant, or more.

Some houses have their own solar panels which power their home. Any extra power generated is sent back to the grid – or, if they have a home battery, it is stored to be used later. If they need more power than what their solar panels can generate, they pull from the grid.

The composition of your electricity grid can vary depending on where you live. Some regions have a higher proportion of renewable energy in their energy mix, while others still heavily rely on fossil fuels. Fortunately, as an individual, you can contribute to making your local grid greener.

Your renewable energy options

Adding renewable energy directly to your home

Installing rooftop solar is the most direct way for you to power your home with renewable energy and make your grid greener. While the most expensive up front option, rooftop solar will also save you on your energy bills once installed.

Panels installed on your roof convert sunlight to electricity and feed that electricity directly into your home. 

If your utility allows for net-energy metering, you can sell any excess electricity your solar panels produce back to them for a credit. Then, in the evening, you can pull electricity from the grid but not get charged. If that’s the case, it makes sense to size your array to cover 100% of your electrical needs.

Some utilities do not allow for net-energy metering, meaning that they will pay little to nothing for the extra electricity your solar panels send back to the grid. Because of this, you’ll want to size your solar array to match the electricity you use throughout the day when the sun is shining. This is typically about a third of your electrical usage. Alternatively, you can install a battery to store the excess electricity your panels produce throughout the day to use at night.

Community solar

If you can’t or don’t want to install solar panels on your home, you may be able to sign up for community solar. Community solar is a great, inexpensive alternative to installing solar, and in some cases it may even save you 5-10% on your energy bills!

Community solar projects allow you to subscribe to a solar farm that is in your community. 

A solar farm divided by address – homeowners and renters can essentially rent panels from community solar projects

The electricity generated by the community solar array is then fed into the local electricity grid, and you receive a credit on your utility bills based on your share of the energy produced.

While the clean electrons don’t directly go to your house, the effect on the grid is the same.

Signing up for a utility renewable plan

Some utilities offer a specific renewable energy plan – sometimes called a “green energy plan” or a “clean energy plan.” When you subscribe to this plan, your utility ensures that it generates enough renewable energy to match the amount of electricity you consume. 

Similar to community solar, the clean electrons don’t directly go to your house, but the effect on the grid is the same.

Pricing for utility renewable plans can vary. Renewable energy can be priced at an additional $0.005–$0.20/kWh on top of your standard bill—or your utility might sell “blocks” of kWh for a fixed monthly price. This usually adds up to ~$5-$20 dollars a month.

As you’re evaluating options, be sure to select the plan that covers 100% of your electricity usage.

Get personalized guidance

Canopy is your personalized guide to going all-electric. We help homeowners and renters make their homes more sustainable and comfortable, all while lowering their energy bills.