Wind Power - Alternative Energy

Should I Buy Power From Arcadia Power?

In Opinion 48 Comments

Residential utility electricity customers in Florida have been receiving emails from a company called Arcadia Power that promises to sell you clean energy, even without installing solar panels or wind generators on your property. First, Florida residents should know that this is not a Florida company based in Arcadia, FL. It is based in Washington, D.C., and offers services nationwide. Now that that’s clear, it is important to point out that Florida residents cannot legally purchase electricity from anyone other than a public utility. That is the law of the land, and Florida is only one of four states that has this arcane regulation still in place. The industry is soliciting the public’s help to get a 2016 ballot amendment to change this, and you can do your part by signing the Floridians for Solar Choice petition (don’t be fooled by the rival utility-backed initiative).

So if you as an individual or business can’t legally buy power from a third party (or sell it as a third party), how can Arcadia Power or other companies sell you renewable energy without breaking the law? Well, they are not actually selling you electricity. They are essentially just taking over billing responsibility and charging you a premium for the same electricity you are already buying. That’s right – they just add 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour (about 15%) to your regular electric bill, collect the money from you, and pay your regular utility company.

So are you really buying green electricity? The answer is yes and no. What they are doing is buying/producing electricity from wind farms and selling that electricity to utility companies on the electric grid. Utility companies are willing to buy this electricity for a variety of reasons, some of which are financial, and some are regulatory. That doesn’t mean they are selling the electricity to your utility company, however. The idea here is that your electricity use is offset by renewable energy that is pumped into the electric grid. Your home will still be powered by the same predominantly natural gas, nuclear, and coal fuel mix that powers Florida’s utility plants today.

What you are doing with this service is buying Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), which is a commodity that certifies that a unit of electricity was produced with renewable energy sources. These RECs are bought and sold on the market to allow utility companies and others to meet Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). The State of Florida, again behind the times, does not have a RPS established by law, and therefore there is not a robust market for RECs in this state. Utility companies have successfully lobbied against efforts to produce a mandated fraction of energy with renewables. Individuals can purchase RECs to offset the environmental impact of buying “dirty” non-renewable energy from Florida’s utility companies. There is no requirement to do so, and no direct benefit other than feeling good that you have done your part.

Arcadia Power has wrapped up the sale of RECs in a neat little package that simplifies REC purchases for consumers. For those that truly want to contribute in this way, they provide a suitable method to do so, even if you live in an apartment or condo where you can’t install your own solar energy equipment. You will not save money (your electricity will cost about 15% more). You will not be “running on solar energy” in reality. You will not be buying actual renewable energy for your home, and you will continue to use the same utility company.

One of the stated features of this service is that you don’t have to install anything on your home to benefit from renewable energy. This is pretty slick marketing, but an apples to oranges comparison with installing distributed solar energy or other renewable energy products at your home. If you really want to benefit in a financial sense and make a bigger impact on the environment, it is unquestionably better to install your own system. But if you can’t because of where you live, or you just want to make a small contribution on a monthly basis, this product might be good for you.

You can think of this as a voluntary tax or sorts that goes to a specific cause. It’s like planting a tree if you drive a gas guzzler. It’s not a bad idea, but make sure you know exactly what you are buying before committing to this program. You may find that your money is better spent installing your own solar energy system and reaping more than just a clear conscience.

Comments

  1. I’m an Arcadia subscriber and happy to be one. Frankly, I thought this article was snarky and misleading. You go out of your way to tell us we won’t really be avoiding fossil energy, because our electrons will come directly from our same old power company. But you can only say that by looking through the narrowest of lenses. We are in fact paying for electricity that was generated by wind or solar, even though it is pumped into the grid and is mixed with gazillions of other electrons. So why bother paying extra for the privilege of claiming our electrons are clean? Because the more people who subscribe to Arcadia or similar projects, the more economic pressure there will be that more such projects will be created. If half of all Americans and American companies subscribed, pretty soon half of all American electricity would be generated by non-fossil means. And the truth is that for most people, the Arcadia solution is more affordable than investing in a lot of solar equipment.

    But we should not be in conflict about this. We’re on the same side. I hope everyone will do both of these options. And I’m not going to go around and accuse the Florida Solar people of being misleading — unless of course you are. So put aside competition and try “coopetition” instead. It’s a great concept.

    1. Author

      I respect your opinion, but many of my colleagues share my opinion and do not consider this the “same side” of the issue. I am an advocate of distributed energy production, deregulated and placed on a fair playing field with incumbent monopoly producers. While Arcadia Power does essentially “offset” one’s electricity consumption with non-fossil fuel sourced electricity on the greater grid, it does not “replace” an individual’s use of fossil fuel based energy. It’s akin to planting a tree to atone for cutting one down. That’s not a bad thing – but let’s call a spade a spade.

      My point was to clarify what Arcadia Power really is, and make sure that consumers understand the reality of what they are getting. Arcadia does not make it clear unless you read the small print and FAQs, which we all know people tend to ignore, and even then the average consumer could be left with the wrong impression. In fact, right on their home page they say, “Power your house, apartment or business with 100% Wind Energy in just 5 minutes.” That is clearly disingenuous since “your house” will continue to be powered primarily with the same old energy mix from your utility company. That is far from transparent, and definitely misleading.

      I respect the idea of trying to buy clean energy when there is no good alternative, and this is a very innovative and novel approach for sure, which I mention in my article. I have no problem with people doing it, as long as they know exactly what they are getting — and not getting.

      Snarky? Perhaps. Misleading? I don’t think so. Everything I wrote was accurate. Any bias introduced is transparent, as my business is distributed solar energy. I make no secret of that. Arcadia Power is a for-profit organization like mine, and a competitor in a philosophical sense, competing for the same customers with a different approach toward renewable energy. I believe our way is better, but recognize that many people cannot be their own energy producers. I do encourage people to consider Arcadia Power as long as they go into the decision fully informed, which is how I approach customers looking for my product offerings.

      Thanks for your feedback, and I do truly appreciate your point of view.

    2. So, if Arcadia’s program is not going to offset the amount of money I currently pay my coal/gas/nuclear energy providing utility, how will it economically pressure anyone to shift in any way? The dirties are still going to be collecting just as much money as they’ve been monopolistically demanding for their elite life slaughtering dirty burning energy factories. If I’m not going to be paying into Arcadia’s program INSTEAD of paying a utility for “dirty energy” but paying Arcadia IN ADDITION TO paying for those “dirty” “electrons”, the difference any claimed economic pressure makes seems moot. The only economic pressure here is, again, falling on the more and more impoverished 99% consumer.

      Also, your argument begs for confirmation and transparency. Will you provide an audit outlining exactly how money’s earned through Arcadia’s program have been, are being, and will be being utilized. And, clearly demonstrate any actual impact of their program on national clean vs dirty energy distribution, in order to verify your claims, please? I’m not behind contributing to lavish executive 6-7 figure salaries and bonuses through paying for an intangible service that’s impossible to distinguish the legitimacy of through observing any variation in my reality other than that I’d be paying more money for something than I’ve already been paying for it.

      There needs to be a real pay off for consumers:
      – lower, not higher, energy bills
      – profit sharing(a foundation of “coopetition”)
      – real tax incentives negotiated for consumers of this kind of program
      – corporate(clean energy) investments in visible upgrades to “clean energy” infrastructures and services local to consumers; focusing on generating empowering economic incentives for local economies to make way for clean energy through those investments rather than relying on loop hole predictions of “more economic pressure” on entrenched addicts to stop being entrenched addicts
      – transparency
      – living beings before profit

      sounds ok, but(gut), not something i’ll dive into without more transparency from Arcadia

    3. I received a solicitation for this service in Colorado. Wind power is in abundance in this area and solar is increasing, so renewable power is viable. However, be sure to read CAREFULLY Arcadia’s terms of service because I saw a clause in there that seemed to try to put Arcadia’s customers on the hook for liabilities of an Arcadia screw-up or lawsuit. I opted not to enroll in their customer list for that reason although I do favor renewable power.

    4. Snarky, maybe; but is it true? 15% more was never explained to me. was it explained to you that it would cars you the exact same as you are paying from your service provider? It was to me; but i am paying a lot more these 2 months as i have been paying!
      and a friend of mine is paying double – DOUBLE – the amount they usually pay for january. how do you explain that??????
      Arcadia just says “talk to your electric company. You should be paying the same…”

      i am cancelling Arcadia and let you know next bill—

  2. OK then, so how much more dollars do I pay to support this effort?

    1. Author

      This is a pretty old post, but my understanding is that you would pay about a 1.5 cent per kilowatt hour for Arcadia to buy renewable energy credits on your behalf and service your account. That amounts to about $20 per month on a typical average utility bill, or about $30 on a $200 electric bill at today’s rates in Florida. As utility rates rise, even if solar or wind energy is cheaper, you still pay the premium.

      1. I guess my math is faulty, because in order for $0.015/kwh to equal $20/month, I would have to be using in excess of 1,300 kwh/month. My average kwh/month usage is currently just about 120 kwh TOTAL. Granted, I live alone in a tiny (288 sf) studio apartment (next closest thing to a tiny house) in Florida. And I have taken all the steps I can to minimize my consumption (the usual door sweeps, storm door, caulking, added insulation, fans, window and patio shades, etc). I have not signed on yet to Arcadia Power, as I am still checking it out (and my electric company is Gulf Power – a “Southern Company” says it has never heard of this).

        1. Author

          Debra, your math it correct. The average residential utility bill is approximately 1,300 kWh in Florida. You have an exceptionally low electricity bill.

    2. You can get 50% of your energy swapped to clean energy for free with Arcadia now, and you only have to pay extra if you want 100% of your energy supplied by clean sources.

  3. Thank you Douglas Wilson for your comments. We live on a very modest income and cannot afford PV panels on our roof. And even if we could, we can’t because we rent. I’m thrilled that Arcadia Power offers a way to drive the demand for sustainably-sourced electricity. We little ants can move mountains. My river was the site of the 2014 Duke Energy coal ash spill into the Dan River. I’ve seen first hand what old fashioned extractive industries can do to wildlife habitat and drinking water. Any advances we can make toward clean energy production is, indeed, going in the right direction. Would I like to have PVs on my roof?–heck yes! But until that happy day, I’m glad I have a chance to continue moving in the right direction for our rivers.

  4. Arcadia seems to have 2 plans. One that is free that purchases $1 of RECs for every $2 of your electricity bill, and another that is 1 for 1 and adds 1.5 cents per kWh to your bill.

    1. Author

      It has been a while since this article was published and I haven’t revisited it recently. I just took a quick look and it does indeed look like Arcadia Power offers a free plan that provides 50% REC coverage for electricity bills. Their website says, “The free plan is available only to new customers in select utilities. To check plan availability, enter your zip code on the homepage and choose your utility.” Their description on how they are able to offer a free plan is a little lacking in detail. That said, I guess there is little to lose if your utility participates. Do note that they have a 3% fee for payments other than bank drafts.

      I’d love to hear some feedback from someone on the free plan!

      1. I have been in the 50% free plan for about 3 months and just switched to the 100% plan. I understand the whole concept in your original post, and I new exactly what I was getting and not getting when I signed up. Arcadia explains it very clearly in their website, and also have honest, transparent staffers who will answer any questions via email. Is it perfect? No. Is it a step in the right direction? Absolutely. And for those who can’t afford the hike in their bill, the free plan does not cost you anything at all so what have you got to lose?

        1. Author

          Gwen, it’s important to note that they have improved their website since this article was written.

  5. Please let me know what you find out on the “free” account as well. I am interested if it does prove to show DC that we are “in” but cannot, as others have commented, afford an increase. Thanks!

  6. Nothing in life is FREE. I found their flyer, and I am skeptical that they would offer buying REC’s that costs THEM money and charge you NOTHING. My guess, once they get enough “free” subscribers they will take the program away and quietly add some type of fee to the free program. The entire REC program is suspect IMO. And as the author points out the flyer states “As a Los Angeles resident you can now choose clean energy for your home or apartment”… VERY misleading to say the least! Good luck.

    1. FREE to you, but subsidized by the federal government no doubt. This is such a scam it hurts. That eco friendly power you are “buying” is already being used, so you’re just paying a company to feel good about yourself with absolutely no affect on the environment. None. All you’re doing is taking tax payer money and your own money, and throwing it away.

  7. It’s been a while since I signed up for Arcadia Power, but I remember that the presentation and information on their web site is very straightforward and explains how it works. I perceive no deception from them and don’t understand where others are seeing any. Also, they are very responsive to email inquiries and will readily clear up any confusion.

    1. Author

      They do have a good FAQ section. I think if you read everything carefully and read between the lines a bit, you can make an educated decision. It’s nice to hear a positive response from a long-term customer.

  8. We happily purchase all of our electricity made by wind and pay extra for that. Would we pay less if we did the free Arcadia program? I don’t get at all what they are doing or what they would do for us or the common good. Seems like an unnecessary added layer in bureaucratic opacity.

  9. How can they offer “free”? Well, it is possible that the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that they buy are cheaper per Kilowatt than what your electric company charges you. For instance in Los Angeles the 1st 1000 KW are 14 cents and the next 1000 KW are 17.5 cents. So if they can buy REC for 10 cents per KW they actually make money. In LA our power company LADWP also offers a RECs program, but they charge 3 cents per KW, so this is a better deal, even with the 3% credit card fee.

    1. According to a statement on a facebook article: “Arcadia Power has raised venture funding from Box Group, Wonder Ventures, and many others which gives us the freedom to focus on building an outstanding experience rather than short-term profits.”

  10. The Arcadia marketing plan is slick. That being said, I researched the term REC on the IRS page and no, the premiums you pay for Arcadia power is not deductible albeit they use the same terms Renewable Energy Credits (both Arcadia and the IRS).

  11. I received an email today from Arcadia and read through some of their terms. When Delaware deregulated electric utilities some years ago, legislators who supported the change claimed rates would drop through competition. Instead, some people who changed were given a guaranteed price for say one year, but after the year their rates as much as doubled. Arcadia states that they can change the terms at any time, effective immediately, and that it is the customers responsibility to review the Arcadia website frequently. In other words, Arcadia’s business plan may be to sign up a lot of customers and then at some point double everybody’s rates, both the free ones and the 1.5 cent ones. One year later they may be out of business, but will have cashed out.

    In Delaware, a California company called Bloom Energy got a sweetheart deal, which is one reason Delmarva Power (now or soon to be an Exelon company) rates are so high. Bloom installed 30 one megawatt solid-state fuel cells that run on natural gas, slightly less efficient than conventional natural gas (they claim it is cleaner). Bloom gets a guaranteed profit for 25 years no matter the local prices of electricity and gas, with the cost passed on to customers. Bloom also got a big cash payment with the promise to employ 500 people, while so far they have barely passed 100 employees. I think the fine print puts the threshold in terms of the dollar amount of payroll. Presumably they are including a bunch of high-paid executives from California, but they are way short onthat measure as well. The state also passed a law that any electricity from a fuel cell that was manufactured in Delaware would count toward Delaware’s renewable portfolio standard, even though the natural gas is obviously not renewable energy.

  12. I was interested until I realized Renewable Energy Credits are just certificates saying you bought clean energy. I thought it was something I could use on my taxes or even use to purchase a nest. Sounds like more of a niche.

  13. The real issue that needs to be addressed is how much money companies like Arcadia Power are skimming off the top while they provide *literally no value*. They are middlemen, apparently scamming well-intentioned environmentalists. They purchase these RECs from legitimate renewable energy providers, and then sell them on to consumers along with a profit for themselves.

    This should clearly be the work of a not-for-profit corporation, *not* a commercial company. This is why I would not trust Arcadia. Until they release their complete financials (and ideally register as a 501c3), I would not trust them one bit.

  14. I understand that with the 50% of power plan, Arcadia is buying RECs to offset 50% of the electricity I consume. They say they are not making any money on this and they are using finances from venture capital to be able to do this. I don’t have a business background, but I don’t understand how this is possible. Also they now have an option to purchase a portion of a solar panel too, but they wouldn’t tell me how much I was purchasing for upwards of $300 or what their cut would be. I think I will step away from Arcadia even though I wish there was a service like this I could trust. And it is not that I am not willing to pay more for renewable energy, I just haven’t gotten much in the way of transparency from the Arcadia.

  15. Thank you for this article. It is a much better explanation of Arcadia’s business model than anything on their site. I just received an email solicitation from Arcadia Power via Daily Kos. I did in fact read through all of the FAQs and watch video explainations and at the end I still didn’t understand what Arcadia does. They are not transparent and now I do not trust them. If they had simply said purchase RECs to offset your dirty power consumption and help us demonstrate there is a strong desire for renewable clean energy, then I probably would have been on board. As they weren’t transparent, I feel I have to watch out for the “gotcha”. I don’t like that feeling and so I won’t have anything to do with Arcadia and I also will give Daily Kos a piece of my mind. Why taint the renewable energy market with something that feels like a scam?

    1. “If they had simply said [they] purchase RECs to offset your dirty power consumption and help us demonstrate there is a strong desire for renewable clean energy, then I probably would have been on board.”

      But that’s EXACTLY what they DO say, right there on their home page!

      “We match your monthly electricity usage with Green-e Energy certified renewable energy certificates… Use our dashboard to track your positive impact and learn about the wind farms you support.”

      It’s also explained clearly in their one-minute “explainer” video – again, right there on their home page.

      1. Author

        Sheesh 🙂 is correct. But to be clear, this is not how the site was organized nor what it said when this article was originally published over 18 months ago. It appears that Arcadia has made things more transparent – a great thing. Now everyone can make a more informed decision whether to go with their service.

  16. only a fool would buy “sustainable” energy from Arcadia. you are throwing your money away.

  17. We had to leave our LEED Platinum house that we had JUST installed solar panels on a year before. Looking for other options in our current home so Arcadia is an interesting possibility. I’m still not totally clear if they are a good idea but appreciate the discussion here and will look more on their website. Thanks!

  18. I signed up for Arcadia power. PG&E was my provider. I was trying to remember where I came across Arcadia Power and one of the commenters indicated that they saw it in Daily Kos, which is where I came across it. I noticed that the Sierra Club is also pushing Arcadia Power (http://sierraclub.org/member-center/support-wind-farms-arcadia-power).
    The EPA has guidelines on how procure green energy (https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/green-power-procurement-considerations).
    The Union of Concerned Scientists doesn’t specifically mention Arcadia, but they do mention renewables and tapping into wind power. (http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/clean_energy/tappingintothewind.pdf)
    If my purchase of power from Arcadia helps with development of renewable sources, then I’m all for it. But I am going to continue my research.

  19. In my former life, I became familiar with deceptive and unfair trade practices. This proposal from Arcadia would surely have caught my eye. I’m disappointed it was sent via the Sierra Club.

  20. Besides a warm, mushy feeling, what’s in it for me, Joe Normal?

  21. Last year I paid a monthly average of $219.32 for an average 2,140 KW usage. That’s $0.1025 per KWH.

    At Arcadia’s $0.015 per KWH “fee”, my average bill for last year would have been $251.42 for the same 2,140 monthly KW usage. That’s an up-charge of $32.10 a month; $385.20 for the year. That equates to a 14.6% premium on my power, with no tax benefits (for me), so Arcadia can buy subsidized “Green Tags” at a discount.

    Sounds like a win-win for Arcadia, and only for Arcadia.

    Generally, servicers get paid between 1%-3% depending on the industry. It seems to me that Arcadia is earning 5X-15X industry standards to provide a billing proxy service; and then derives further benefits buying discounted Tags it resells at a profit.

    I’m all for profit, but this seems like double dipping and unjust enrichment.

    I could find nothing in Arcadia’s disclosures claiming to carve out a percentage of their revenues to subsidize or incentivize renewable energy. Therefore waiving the flag of environmental social responsibility seems disingenuous at best.

    1. So I did some research on this lately, and you need to dig deeper as you aren’t paying someone like Arcadia to be your servicer. Your original electric company is still your provider and your servicer. All a company like Arcadia is doing is intercepting your bill and then using that data to buy REC (renewable energy credits) on your behalf from the market.

      That market for most providers is ‘regulated’ by a non-profit named Green-E. Green-E in theory makes sure that companies they certify are in fact buying RECs being sold by legitimate clean energy producers. You can find out more about REC from the EPA and there are several videos on YouTube sponsored by the EPA on how this whole thing works as well. Now, how much of that extra money you are paying is being spent on the RECs is the opaque part, as you note, though you can also do some spot checking in places where there are open markets, and prices vary a lot.

      As the owner of this site noted, the FAQ is where most of the good data is disclosed on Arcadia’s website. You can also go directly to the Green-e site to confirm that they meet their. But I think it’s a bit unfair to think that all that money is going to Arcadia only in a project that is both supposed to be independently certified by a non-profit AND sponsored by the EPA.

      Would be nice to see how much impact they are having more prominently disclosed however.

  22. I am considering signing up for Arcadia Power’s free 50% wind power program. But I have some questions, both for the skeptics and the supporters. I already pay my electric company an extra fee in order to have a portion of my electricity coming from renewable energy. This is money paid directly to the electric company. Presumably they are using this money to invest in their own renewables infrastructure. I do this in order to help us get off fossil fuels. But I can’t afford their fee to do more than have a small portion. So to the skeptics, if I can get 50% of my and/or someone else’s electricity generated for free rather than (or in addition to) paying extra for far less than 50%, what will I be doing that is harmful to me or (especially) to the environment? To those who say that they will raise their rates making it no longer free, then since I can unsubscribe at no cost, what is the problem with enrolling? To the supporters, how realistic is it that doing this will bring about an eventual end to fossil fuel consumption any faster or more helpfully. I look forward to your thoughts.

  23. Please check this: if I read the Terms correctly, if you sign up, you pay your bills to Arcadia Power and they pay the Utility. If Arcadia pays the utility late and a fee results, you pay the fee. And what assures you that Arcadia will remain capable of paying when due? Where is the float maintained and who watches to be sure the bills are paid on time? Maybe I am missing something.

  24. After researching, I think this Arcadia thing is OK. They are buying renewable energy on your behalf — something you might not be able to do on your own. It’s substitutional. Somewhere out there, a company is pumping wind- or solar-driven electrons into the grid. You may not have direct access to that clean power, but you’re buying it, and thus supporting its production and use, although you’re still actually using what may be dirty power. Again, it’s substitutional. You feel no difference except for the billing scenario, and somewhere the air is a little cleaner and the renewable power industry is strengthened. It’s fine for Arcadia to make a profit, just like the clean- (and dirty-) power producers. I am guessing that Arcadia makes its money on the 1.5 cent/kw premium for the “100 percent” plan, plus something on the “free” 50 percent plan (maybe from the three-day “float.” The no-contract provision and the ability to cancel any time should make us all feel better. And any sudden dramatic hike in rates would not be Arcadia’s doing; that would come from your usual supplier. I’m going to try the 50 percent plan.

  25. Jason – I read your original article, and your periodic comments since. I think you were very informative and evenhanded, and I appreciate it !

  26. Jason:

    I too agree that your original article and responses to various comments since has been very helpful. I’m likely going to go “all in” a the premium 1.5 cent per KWH and see what happens. Should I come across anything shady or have any problems, I’ll post the details here for all to be aware.

    I am curious about something that hasn’t much been mentioned here other than in maybe one or two comments….they also offer a link to sign up to purchase (purchase is not the correct word – they clearly explain that you do not own the solar panel, you simply receive a monthly credit for a certain period of time) a solar panel and in return you receive a discount. For example, I have the option to pay $100 for a panel and in return, I’m estimated to receive approximately $1/month credited to my bill for 120 months. (basically I’m making about $20 on a $100 investment over 10 years) . Is this the going rate for this sort of thing? (or am I better off investing the same $100 in something with a higher return and using my earned interest (say $2/ month) to donate directly to a renewable energy provider?

    1. Author

      The return on investment in the scenario you mention is very poor compared to an outright purchase, but an outright purchase is a longer-term investment at 20-25 years. To compare investments you need to look at the term of the investment to get a fair ROI comparison. Even a lease or power purchase agreement (not available in Florida) would be a better investment than this. Ultimately, when you finance solar you give up a big chunk of the return, but it can still be a great investment depending on what you are comparing it to.

  27. I no longer live in Florida but was interested in this because of a solicitation I received from Arcadia Power. I’m not usually so dense but their business model and the offer made no sense to me. It seems like they will be making money by charging us more per Kw to “feel better” about our use of energy.

    Instead, we’ve already taken steps to “feel better” where we now live in Missouri. Our main energy comes from a coop, and we live in a county that has virtually no regulations regarding building, plumbing, heating, or electric. As long as we don’t annoy the coop we are free to do as we please to generate electricity off the grid. So we wired our house to only use coop electricity for main appliances, and use solar power for lights, fans, and light electronics. It would be nice to mix them and add some electricity to the grid, but that seems to upset the coop.

    We use passive solar to help heat water, use solar and a windmill for the well and pressure tanks, and enjoy the use of a spring house with a neighbor. Plus, we take advantage of geothermal heat exchange by having added a berm addition to our existing house, which to really lowers the energy needs for heating and cooling. Next thought is to put in an outdoor kitchen for summertime cooking, like in the plantation days in the south.

    There has got to be a better way to build homes in harsher environments, to keep homes comfortable and use less energy. I do not miss the muggy, oppressive heat of Central Florida. The muggy, windy, rainy Missouri heat I like to call a “dry heat”, to the amusement of the locals. At least Missouri is bearable in 102 degrees, Jest sayin’, plus you can dig into the rock to build your yurt.

  28. I want to like this product. Obviously the 50
    Percent no extra cost deal is a no brainer (unless one subscribes to the torched earth Armageddon plan for the future) but on the 100% plan I see I can go on the Terrapass website and get 1000kw of offsets for $5 which works out to only a 5% premium on my electric bill for the same offsets. Roughly $5 a month vs $15 for my $100 typical bill. Does anyone know are all these offsets equivalent? I think perhaps a mix of the 2 products 50% each would be more economical and efficient. I wish the power company would step up to the plate instead of libbying and paying off our politicians while Miami sinks into the ocean.

  29. An important question in deals like Arcadia’s, for those who want to support renewable energy, is whether buying the RECs actually encourages the production of more renewable energy. In general, for inexpensive midwestern RECs, this is NOT true. The economics of wind power in the midwest are now so favorable that windpower is going up whether or not the REC income is there – and so the competitive bid process has driven the cost of midwestern RECs down to almost nothing. As an alternative, here in New England, some electricity providers will allow you to pay extra for additional RECs known as “Class I New England RECs”. These cost more, but land here is so expensive that REC income is a key part of what is allowing more land-based windpower to be developed. Key words to research to learn more include “additionality”, which is the sometimes-tricky to measure incentive that new REC income provides to potential renewable energy projects.

  30. I bought into the 50% plan to get the do-gooder feeling knowing in advance that my bottom line cost would not change from what I would pay the utility directly. I find it hard to believe that no one has mentioned re “What’s in it for Arcadia” that the only way to pay Arcadia is via automatic monthly billing. My bill is generated by the utility and 3 days later my credit card is charged the bill amount by Arcadia. In 2010 the Federal CARD Act was passed giving customers a minimum of 21 days to pay their credit card bill without a surcharge. Thus, Arcadia has 18 days to transfer my cash payment to the utility. I inquired as to this scenario and was told by Arcadia that this 18 day time period allows them “to receive payment, process it, and send it to the utility before the due date”. Admittedly in my case, the utility receives payment within a 7-12 day period after the billing date during my few months of membership but it could be 20 days next month. Not only is this a violation of the CARD Act, my payment, as well as all other Arcadia customers payments, are most likely sitting in a income generating account for their “holding” period. Arcadia is a “for profit” company, and as I don’t deny their right to make a profit……just saying!

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