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Why Should You Consider Renewable Energy Certificates?

Wind turbines near a corn field, producing renewable energy.


Renewable energy has become an increasingly popular topic in recent years. With the growing concern for the environment and the adverse effects of climate change, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Renewable energy certificates (RECs) are one such way. In this article, we’ll explore what RECs are and why you should consider using them.

Renewable energy certificates, also known as green certificates or tradable renewable certificates, are proof of renewable energy generation. When renewable energy is generated, such as wind, solar, or hydro power, it is fed into the electrical grid. The electricity output has a mix of non-renewable sources, making it impossible to differentiate between the two. A REC separates the renewable energy from the non-renewable energy and serves as proof that the energy comes from a renewable source.

How do Renewable Energy Certificates Work?

When renewable energy is generated, the producer is issued a REC. You can sell this REC separately from the energy itself. The REC serves as proof that a certain amount of renewable energy has been generated. For example, if a wind farm produces 100 megawatt-hours of electricity, it will also receive 100 RECs. These RECs are available for purchase to entities that want to purchase renewable energy or offset their carbon footprint.

Types of Renewable Energy Certificates

There are two types of RECs: unbundled and bundled. You can sell unbundled REC separately from the energy produced, whereas a bundled REC is sold together with the energy. A bundled REC is usually more expensive than an unbundled REC. This is because it guarantees that the energy being used is from a renewable source.

Benefits of Renewable Energy Certificates

There are several benefits of using renewable energy certificates. First and foremost, they allow individuals and businesses to support renewable energy without having to install renewable energy systems themselves. Additionally, RECs can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing demand for renewable energy. The increase in demand can lead to more investment in renewable energy technologies and more production of renewable energy.

How Renewable Energy Certificates Can Help Your Business

Wind turbines seen from a distance.

For businesses, using RECs can help improve their sustainability credentials. Many consumers today are environmentally conscious and actively seek out businesses that are environmentally responsible. Using renewable energy certificates can help businesses meet their sustainability goals and differentiate themselves from their competitors.

The Cost of Renewable Energy Certificates

The cost of RECs varies depending on the market and the type of REC. Typically, bundled RECs are more expensive than unbundled RECs. However, the cost of RECs has been decreasing in recent years as renewable energy has become more widespread.

Considerations Before Buying Renewable Energy Certificates

Before purchasing RECs, there are several considerations to keep in mind. First, it’s important to verify that the vendor of REC is reputable. Second, it’s important to ensure that the RECs are valid. They should not be double-counted or retired. Third, it’s important to consider the location of the renewable energy source, as purchasing RECs from a source that is far away may not have as much of an impact on local emissions.

How to Purchase Renewable Energy Certificates

There are several ways to purchase RECs. One way is to purchase them directly from a renewable energy producer or supplier. Another way is to purchase them through a broker who specializes in RECs. Many utilities also offer RECs as part of their green energy programs.

Common Misconceptions About Renewable Energy Certificates

There are several misconceptions about RECs that are important to address. One common misconception is that purchasing RECs is the same as purchasing renewable energy. While RECs support renewable energy production, it does not guarantee that they are utilizing renewable energy. Another misconception is that RECs are only for large corporations. In reality, individuals and small businesses can purchase RECs as well.


Renewable energy certificates are a valuable tool for individuals and businesses looking to support renewable energy production and reduce their carbon footprint. They provide a simple and cost-effective way to support the growth of renewable energy, while also improving sustainability credentials. By understanding how RECs work, the different types available, and the benefits and considerations, you can make an informed decision on whether to use RECs for your energy needs.


  1. What is the difference between a REC and a carbon offset?

A REC represents proof that there has been a generation of renewable energy, while a carbon offset represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. Are RECs available in all states?

Yes, RECs are available in all states.

  1. How long do RECs last?

RECs can have varying lifetimes, depending on the certification program. Typically, they last for one to five years.

  1. Can I sell my RECs?

Yes, you can sell your RECs on various platforms, such as brokerages or energy exchanges.

  1. How do RECs impact the environment?

RECs help support renewable energy production, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps combat climate change.