What's understood as clean energy is electricity generated through industrial means that produce little to none of the harmful greenhouse gases. Thus, clean energy suppliers distribute either electricity they produced from their solar and wind farms or sell small generation units (SGUs) to customers at a lower price. The price deduction equals the value of solar credits that the company can get from each unit's Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs), which determine the number of SGUs that the supplier can install. Popular types of small generation units include a solar panel installation with inverter, a 10-KW wind system, and a mini-hydroelectric generator.
Feed-In Tariffs and Smart Meters for Renewable Electricity
Also known as a solar bonus scheme or a buyback program in some states, feed-in tariffs allow consumers to earn from their small-scale renewable energy systems. Some energy retailers offer to buy renewable electricity from their consumers at competitive prices depending on the terms of their tariff scheme. The market rates also vary from state to state because of zoning rules, which take into account the darkness of the solar panel system to the equator. Naturally, solar power generators installed on rooftops of buildings in zones 2 and 3 of the REC Zone Map receive more sunlight than those in zone 4.
The use of an electronic smart meter increases the efficiency by which consumers use and track their electricity supply. Modern types of power meters consist of microcontrollers that provide data security over wireless networks and adaptive connectivity to other devices with different operating systems. Certainly, a digital meter differs from the inverter that solar PV panels needed to regulate the inflow and flow of electric current. A smart electricity meter gives an owner of an off-grid system an accurate tally of used and unused energy supply, which is eligible under a buyback scheme as well.
Factors That Can Affect Clean Energy Savings
Monthly savings from the use of small-scale systems may vary based on present and future factors. As of now, competitive pricing among energy retailers and the time-of-use tariffs applicable to certain areas, which receive lower rates for electricity used during off-peak periods, reduce the differential cost between purchasing energy from a supplier and producing it through an SGU. Typically, suppliers let their customers buy a solar energy kit at a lower price in exchange for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) equivalent to the small generation unit's expected output and storage capacity.
Over time, market-wide energy rates tend to rise and drop because of new technologies and reforms in public policy. Price increases naturally raise the value of using small generation units while price drops make a clean energy plan less attractive money-wise. In addition, a decrease in the supplier's buyback price – the estimated value of excess electricity from a customer – leads to lower monthly savings from the use of SGUs. When a customer sells back this unused energy to a supplier, the total value for that month turns into a rebate or discount reflected against the total payment due next month.