About this Project
Power your Home with Wind or Solar — no Equipment Required!
In Maryland, you have a choice as to where your electricity comes from. If you choose a renewable energy source, your utility will add clean energy to its grid to power your home. You don’t have to install any new equipment, your service won’t change, you’ll get the same bill as always, and you may even end up paying less for your electricity.
About 60% of electricity from Pepco, BGE and Potomac Edison comes from coal-fired power plants and other fossil fuel sources. Only 7-9% comes from cleaner, renewable resources such as wind and solar. When you choose clean energy, you help get us one step closer to decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels.
Did you know that in 2014, renewable sources of energy accounted for about 10% of total U.S. energy consumption and 13% of electricity generation?
Use the tool on this website, to compare the utility rate for your zip code with the price of green power.
Know Your Supplier:
Suppliers providing electricity to Maryland consumers must be licensed by the MD Public Service Commission (PSC) and comply with PSC rules on marketing, solicitation, contracting, and all Maryland consumer protection laws. Electricity suppliers may offer different contract or price terms than your local utility, or may offer a contract that helps to promote renewable energy, such as wind energy.
Consumers that do not choose their electricity supplier are provided "Standard Offer Service" (SOS) through their local utility. The cost that consumers pay for this generated electricity can be found on their electric bill, or by referring to appropriate link below corresponding to your electric utility.
The price of the electricity offered by a competitive electricity supplier can be found by visiting the website or calling a supplier approved by the PSC. Contact information for these suppliers can be found on the PSC website. However, the listing provided by the PSC does not provide a clear indication of which suppliers provide electricity from clean sources like wind or solar.
How to buy green electricity without installing solar panels
The following information is focused on helping residents of Montgomery County, who cannot install (or prefer not to install) rooftop solar, buy green electricity. You can make the switch to green energy by:
- purchasing electricity with renewable energy certificates from wind and solar facilities; OR
- supporting the development of solar power in Maryland by being part of a community solar project.
Option 1: Green-e Certified Suppliers of Renewable Electricity
Many suppliers offer green electricity for purchase, but their offerings can be difficult to compare – due to differing terms, conditions, and other relevant considerations.
Green-e is the trusted global leader in clean energy certification. They make it easy for businesses and individuals to purchase verified clean energy with confidence, and for consumers to choose sustainable products and services. Green-e advocates for the advancement of clean energy policy, markets, and technology, and believes in their economic and environmental benefits.
Under Maryland law, you can choose a supplier for your electricity other than Pepco, BG&E, or Potomac Edison. Your monthly electric bill will then have two parts – a smaller continuing payment to Pepco/BG&E/Potomac Edison (as the distributor) to maintain the electric wires in your neighborhood, and a payment for your “electric supply” that goes to the supplier you choose.
The process of signing up for a supplier is done online and is simple – you will need to consult a copy of your electrical bill to provide your current utility account number as part of the sign-up process. The cost of green electricity is slightly higher than what Pepco/BG&E/Potomac Edison will charge for the “electric supply” part of your bill. For that reason, it is important to know that the green electricity you are paying extra for is really “green.”
The EPA recommends buying green electricity from suppliers that have undergone third-party validation by Green-e.
When you sign up for a green electricity option, you will sign a fixed-price contract for a specific term (typically between 1 and 3 years). Some suppliers make you pay a penalty if you want to switch to another source of electricity before the contract term is up. If you want the flexibility to switch based on finding a better price, then you may want to pay attention to termination fees and consider a supplier that allows easy cancellation.
There are other differences among the types of suppliers in the marketplace that may be important to you. Some suppliers of green electricity are large multi-state utilities. They may have lower prices for green electricity.
Others are smaller, more local firms that are explicitly organized to operate on socially responsible business principles or that have been certified for environmentally responsible business practices. Their prices may be higher, but if you want your electricity purchase to encourage more Triple Bottom Line business (Economic, Social and Environmental), then look out for green business or B Corp logos.
The end of your contract
Shortly before the end of your contract, your green electricity supplier must inform you of your options, going forward:
- If you do nothing, some suppliers will automatically renew you for another fixed term at a different fixed rate that may be higher.
- They might put you on a variable rate that changes from month to month, which will likely also be higher.
- Others may return you to Pepco/BG&E/Potomac Edison as your supplier.
It is important to pay attention to your options at the end of your contract term (be it 1 year from now or 3 years from now), so that you make a choice at that point that continues to provide you with the lowest cost.
Option 2: Supporting Community Solar Projects
A complementary strategy to the above is to support the development of solar generation facilities in Maryland through community solar projects. Maryland’s demonstration program allows such facilities to be built once they have signed up customers equal to the plant’s capacity.
As a legal matter, you are not buying the solar power generated by the facility itself, but you are directly incentivizing such facilities in Maryland while saving money overall. You may be able to combine this support with buying your personal renewable energy through one of the suppliers in Option 1.
Community Solar Organizers:
Electricity generation is the single largest source of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Electricity sold by Pepco in Maryland in 2017 was generated mostly by coal (32.2%), natural gas (26.7%), and nuclear (35.9%) – with only 2.8% from wind and solar.
Scientists tell us we need to switch to clean electricity without delay. By buying electricity from wind and solar power, and/or by supporting community solar power projects, you are helping support the stronger U.S. green electricity industry essential for that transition.
Check your price per kilowatt-hour on your current electricity bill — it may be listed as your “price to compare.” Then shop around. You might be surprised that buying wind or solar power can be cheaper than regular electricity from your utility.
If you live in Takoma Park, the City of Takoma Park has a program for purchasing green electricity for its residents that offers low rates and good environmental value. Visit the program website.