Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) are a mechanism by which owners of solar energy systems can trade “credits” on an open market and reap financial returns in exchange for the renewable energy attributes of their system.

Third Sun Solar Installation at Findlay Market, Cincinnati

An SREC is a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate, often called a “credit.” It represents “the renewable energy attributes” associated with one megawatt hour of electricity produced by solar technology (one MWh equals 1,000 kilowatt hours). How many SRECs will a given solar energy system produce? A general rule of thumb in Ohio is 1 kW of solar capacity will produce approximately 1 SREC per year. Therefore, a 5 kW solar power system will produce about 5 SRECs per year.

When discussing SRECs, it is important to note that it is not the electricity we are talking about; someone with solar panels on their rooftop enjoys full uses of the electricity produced by those panels, regardless of whether they keep or sell their SRECs. What is sold as an SREC are the intangible “green energy attributes” associated with one MWh of solar power. And along with those attributes come the “bragging rights”—in other words, the party that holds the SREC owns the right to claim they are producing clean power. Only the SREC owner can cite use of solar in marketing materials and to meet policy goals. This promotes the spread of renewable energy, and prevents two parties from making duplicate green claims for a single energy system. (Third Sun Solar offers a white paper entitled “SRECs and Green Claims”—just ask your project developer for a copy, or contact us).

As part of our service, Third Sun Solar will be pleased to provide consulting to assist you in securing the best deal for your SRECs. Although many installers receive commissions or a “cut of the deal” in exchange for steering their customers to certain buyers, Third Sun Solar has made the decision to not seek any income from our customers’ SRECs. Therefore, you can trust that our advice is unbiased and that our only goal is to see you maximize this revenue stream.

Customer @ Center

At Third Sun Solar, we have a customer-centered approach and treat each client and project as an opportunity to deliver an individualized solution.

Heart-shaped sunspot—Photo by Dan Hershman

We have a “listen first” philosophy, seeking to understand and clarify each client’s desired outcomes at the beginning of any project. We inform decision makers of their realistic options and the implications of their decisions, and make recommendations based on the client’s goals and our experience and knowledge.

Our goal is to build a mutually beneficial and long term relationship with our clients and project partners. Our repeat business and strong referral network are testimony that honest and conservative assumptions are more important than “overly enthusiastic” estimates, claims and assurances. We would rather under-promise and over-deliver, and to do so, we rely on our experience base of historic project data and actual costs to inform both our energy performance projections and our cost and timeline proposals.

The Solar Mainstream

At Third Sun Solar, our approach to bringing solar into the mainstream is to deliver the highest value solutions to every one of our customers.

Third Sun Solar array at Evolving Enterprises, Cincinnati

So how close is solar to becoming mainstream? Solar technology has been around for 50 years, and has matured to the point of very high reliability. The industry is enjoying rapid growth in system deployment as more people realize the benefits. With solar, the cost of fuel is free forever. And the maintenance requirements are smaller than for just about any other performance device you can put on your building. So it can also be a sound economic investment, if done right.

And doing it right is the crux of the issue. To cross the threshold of becoming mainstream, it is absolutely critical that solar energy systems make energy. Not just a little energy – as much energy as possible, and more importantly, as much energy as you expect it to when you make that investment. Today, that requires an experienced solar system integrator who can bring together the engineering, the technical, the electrical, the financial, and the utility-connection aspects of solar—so it is designed, engineered, constructed and monitored correctly, and generates all the power it should.

There are very few Ohio companies who are positioned to offer the highest level of expertise in integrating all of these various critical factors. At Third Sun Solar, we have over 10 years experience, 300 installations, and perhaps our greatest asset, the long view—that is, the patience to guide customers toward the best solar solution, which usually does not produce the fastest buck. But that’s okay. We will be here for many sunrises to come.