SRECs in Washington D.C.

Making money from your roof

Washington, D.C. homeowners with solar panels can earn solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) that can then be sold for cash. Here’s how it works: after getting your solar system certified by the DC Public Service Commission, you can earn a certificate every time you generate one megawatt-hour of power. These certificates, or SRECs, can be sold online either within the D.C. system or in the Pennsylvania or North Carolina markets. The SRECs are completely separate from the energy you’re generating, and just represent the environmental benefits of producing renewable electricity. Check out this video on SRECs for more information on how they work in general.

Who buys SRECs?

Like several states, D.C. has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires utilities serving the district to get a certain percentage of energy from solar power every year. By 2021, utilities will have to get 20% of energy from renewable sources, with 0.4% of that from solar. That doesn’t mean the utilities have to produce the solar power themselves– they can meet the requirement by buying SRECs from small producers, including homeowners with solar panels. Utilities in Pennsylvania and North Carolina are allowed to get SRECs from D.C., so they’re also potential buyers.

How much are SRECs worth?

The value of SRECs depends on market supply and demand. Washington D.C. has set their “alternative compliance payment” (the amount that utilities have to pay as a penalty if they don’t buy enough renewable energy) at $500 through 2018. That means you won’t earn more than $500 per SREC. As of 2010, SRECs are currently trading at almost $300 each.

Who’s eligible to sell SRECs in D.C.?

Once you’ve installed your solar system, your installer can help you get registered with the D.C. Public Service Commission. Then you’ll be able to start listing your SRECs for sale on GATS, the regional energy tracking system. Utilities are required to buy from renewable energy producers in D.C. first, but if they’ve purchased all available local energy, they can also buy from producers in other states (DE, IN, IL, KY, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, and WI).

Other incentives

Learn more about solar financing or solar rebates and tax credits.

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