Arcadia Power makes it possible for home owners to get some of the benefits of renewable energy without placing a single solar panel on the family home. How? Arcadia is a load management company that began operating last spring. (Full disclosure — I am an Arcadian Power customer) It allows home owners to get up to 50% of their energy from renewable sources — usually wind power — by simply signing up.
The process is easy. All Arcadia needs is your address and your billing account number with your local utility. Arcadia does all the rest. Afterwards, you can access the Arcadia dashboard at any time to view your personal energy usage and monitor the source of the electricity you use. People who are willing to add 1.5 cents to each kilowatt of electricity they use can arrange through Arcadia for 100% of their electricity from renewables. Arcadia currently has about 10,000 people on the full renewable program.
Why would anyone pay extra for renewable power? Convenience. There are no solar panels on your roof, no lease, no power purchase agreement, and no long term financing. If you move, you simply notify Arcadia to terminate your agreement. You can reinstate you agreement with them at your new location.
Using Arcadia encourages utilities to identify and make use of renewable energy. It also provides a guaranteed market for renewable energy which can help stimulate more investment in renewables. And it allows individuals to participate in the green power revolution conveniently. It’s the proverbial win-win situation.
Arcadia Power has just announced a similar program for those who rent rather than own. There are lots of renters who would like to be able to invest in sustainable energy, but don’t have the means. “That’s one of the most important parts of what we’re doing,” said Kiran Bhatraju, the chief executive of Arcadia Power. “The vast majority of Americans can’t do rooftop solar. There’s only about 8% of Americans that can.”
Using Arcadia, these environmentally minded consumers can invest in projects across the United States and reap the benefits of that energy generation as if it were coming from their own home. “We built technology over the last few years that allows us to push bill credits onto their utility bills,” said Bhatraju. “We can remotely connect you to a distributed generation asset. As that solar produces electricity we take the billed credits locally and that’s distributed onto the bill.”
Arcadia’s current projects aren’t huge, but they do prove that commercial customers and governments are buying into their thesis that if you offer renewable energy generation to renters, many will accept the offer if they are offered an option that is convenient and hassle free. So far, the Arcadia Power has projects in Washington, DC, Massachusetts and California. “We source the project and we work with the customers to get the buy-in into the program.”
The next product in the company’s pipeline is on-bill financing for energy efficient products like smart thermostats and LED lighting. Arcadia says such products can save customers 10 to 30% of their annual energy costs.