This Woman Found a Free Way to Get Clean Power Without Pricy Solar Panels
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Jane Turner spends most of her weekends hiking with her family. A lover of the great outdoors, she’s long been worried that the majestic beauty of the forests where she hikes won’t be here for her children, irreversibly damaged by pollution. There may not be a ton she can do on a global scale, but she can certainly control one area: her home.
Turner decided she should power her home using sustainable, clean, eco-friendly energy sources such as solar and wind. Unfortunately, she discovered a complete lack of options in her area, because the power company that serves her part of New York gets its electricity from a mix of oil-fired power plants and other sources.
“Customers don’t always have the ability to choose where their power comes from,” says Turner, 38, an accountant who lives in Ithaca, N.Y.
Well, as it turns out, customers have a lot more say in their energy sources than she thought. During her online search for oil-powered energy alternatives, Turner stumbled upon an online ad for Arcadia Power. It said that she could indeed power her home with renewable energy sources, no matter where she lives. Arcadia Power told her it can sell clean energy to her without making any changes to her property.
This got her attention.
How is that even possible? Turner wondered. How can Arcadia sell to me when the local power company owns all the energy infrastructure here?
Here’s what she learned:
Arcadia Power is an energy marketplace, not a power generator in and of itself. Arcadia Power allows her to buy into wind farms and solar panels installed outside her area.
It’s easy to forget one big thing about electricity: no matter whether it comes from burning dirty coal, water flowing through a hydroelectric dam, or sun beaming down on a solar panel, all electricity is exactly the same once it enters our national energy grid. (It’s worth noting, only 13% of American electricity currently comes from renewable sources. The U.S. still relies heavily on non-renewable sources including coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy!)
To be 100% clear: Arcadia customers’ homes are still powered through their local utility energy sources. That said, by purchasing clean power through Arcadia, you can offset the environmental impact of using your local utility’s environmentally-damaging energy.
For consumers like Turner, what matters is that Arcadia Power allows her to drive the demand for green, sustainably sourced electricity. Purchasing from Arcadia Power increases the amount of energy in the national grid that’s generated from clean, renewable sources. This way, Turner can put her wallet behind green energy even though her utility offers no eco-friendly options.
How Arcadia Power Helps Support Eco-Friendly Living
Turner signed on with Arcadia two years ago and she hasn’t looked back.
“They pretty much take control of your utility account,” she says, adding that she pays her power bill through Arcadia, not her local utility. “Nothing has changed otherwise. My electric service is exactly the same — I just sleep easier knowing that I’m doing my part to help the environment.”
Full disclosure: Turner pays a bit extra for her solar and wind energy. Arcadia adds 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour to customers’ regular electric bills, collects payments from them, and then pays the local utility.
But Turner insists this extra cost is chump change.
“The difference is barely a blip on the radar – just a few extra dollars each month,” says Turner, who owns a five-bedroom, three-bathroom home. (Arcadia also offers a free version through which you can source 50% of your electricity renewably without the 1.5 cents extra per kilowatt hour.)
A big perk: Arcadia customers can access an online “dashboard” to track how much power is being used, so she can carefully monitor when she’s using more energy than normal.
“Arcadia’s dashboard is super user-friendly,” said Turner. “It lets me see what concrete actions we can take to minimize our impact on the environment — and save on our bill.”
Her dashboard has shown her that, for example, she should set her dishwasher to operate on a time delay, so that it begins and ends its cycle at night, when power costs less to use.
“We’re literally changing our habits thanks to Arcadia,” she said. “Over time, this will mean huge savings for us.”
In the grand scheme, Turner insists it’s fully worthwhile to take this small extra step to support renewable energy. She believes the environmental harm of traditional “dirty” energy sources is still understated — especially because installing solar panels isn’t financially realistic for many homeowners.
“Ultimately, my home is powered by renewable, eco-friendly sources,” she says. “As I pay Arcadia for its services, I pay for renewable energy sites to exist. I’m changing the shape of the grid. I’m actively supporting the growth of renewables.”
If minimizing the impact of dirty power is something you’d like to do, Arcadia Power is offering anyone who signs up a $20 Amazon gift card.
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