Renewables Program Frequently Asked Questions

Any PSE electric customer can support green energy by joining Green Power or Solar Choice. Here are some of the PSE customer's most popular questions about the programs. If you don't see yours below, please email us at renewables@pse.com.

 



How do I sign up?

In most cases, you can sign up your home or business online. You can also enroll by contacting a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Will my purchase really make a difference?

Yes! By increasing the amount of power generated from renewable resources you:

  • Reduce the region's dependence on fossil fuels
  • Help to build or buy a wider range of renewable energy sources in our region
  • Raise community awareness about the benefits of renewable energy so that it becomes readily available at a lower cost
  • Support the local economy by helping to create green jobs right here in Washington and in the Pacific Northwest
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Will renewable energy resources be delivered directly to my home or business?

The electricity generated from the renewable resources that you support is put into the Northwest power-supply grid along with electricity from all of our other resources. Much like water or natural gas, it isn't possible to differentiate the sources at the point of delivery. By choosing Green Power or Solar Choice, you are supporting the environment and helping to increase the proportion of renewable energy that is available to the entire system.

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Why does renewable energy cost more than basic electrical service?

Since PSE's prices are regulated by the state public utility commission, we are required to provide the lowest-cost electricity. The company's least-cost plan for power generation includes renewable energy, such as wind generation. In fact, PSE owns 773 MW of wind generation at three wind farms: Wild Horse, Hopkins Ridge and Lower Snake River. Above these levels, PSE customers can propel even more renewable development by enrolling in Green Power or Solar Choice.

The program costs more because customers are supporting the addition of more renewable energy above and beyond what PSE is already purchasing and generating for customers.

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How can I reduce my monthly energy bill and still participate in the program?

An easy way to reduce costs is to decrease the amount of energy you use. For example, you could install LED light bulbs in all of your most frequently used light fixtures and reduce your bill. That would also lower your cost for renewable power. In fact, if you conserve enough energy at the same time you buy clean power through one of these programs, your overall electric bill might not increase at all. You would benefit and so would the environment!

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Does PSE make a profit on the Green Power or Solar Choice programs?

No. See below for how we use the money from the program.

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Where does Green Power and Solar Choice program money go?

PSE uses the funds collected from the programs to purchase renewable energy on behalf of program participant's, to educate our customers about the programs and to administer the programs. PSE is required to report annually on both programs to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Committee (WUTC) and Washington State Department of Community Trade and Economic Development, who in turn present their findings to the Washington State Legislature. PSE does not make a profit on either program.

In addition, Green Power is certified by Green-e Energy, the nation's leading voluntary certification program for renewable energy. Green-e Energy audits certified programs annually to ensure that they meet the minimum environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions. For more information on Green-e Energy certification requirements, call 1-888-63-GREEN or visit green-e.org.

PSE is in the process of applying for Green-e Energy certification for Solar Choice.

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Does PSE also sell the renewable energy from Green Power and Solar Choice facilities to other utilities?

No. While PSE operates renewable energy facilities that produce power which may be sold to other utilities, those facilities are entirely separate from the renewable energy facilities that supply the renewable energy credits to Green Power and Solar Choice. Funds from both programs are directed to Pacific Northwest renewable energy facilities that supply additional electricity into the grid.

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Doesn't most of Washington's energy come from clean hydro power already?

About 36 percent of PSE's energy generation comes from hydropower and 59 percent comes from fossil fuel generation (coal and natural gas). To learn more, see PSE's power supply profile.

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Do other utilities offer similar programs?

Yes, all across the United States, over 750 utilities offer similar programs. There are 16 utilities in the state of Washington that offer voluntary green power programs to their customers. Green power programs vary according to each utility's unique circumstances. PSE Green Power is consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 Programs in the country by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

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Am I required to participate?

No. Participation in PSE Green Power and Solar Choice is strictly voluntary.

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Can I cancel or change my participation at any time?

Yes, you may cancel at any time by logging into your myPSE account and using our online form. Don't have a MyPSE account? Create one or contact a PSE Energy Advisor online or by phone at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Can I sign up if I live in an apartment?

Yes! Both Green Power and Solar Choice are great options for renters or apartment dwellers. In fact, anyone who pays an electricity bill can sign up for Green Power or Solar Choice.

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Is my purchase tax deductible?

No, the Federal government does not provide a tax deduction for utility voluntary green power programs.

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Why isn't my address showing up in the online form?

Some accounts are a little too tricky for our online form to handle. If you're trying to enroll at an address where you have active electric service and don't see the address you're looking for, we'd be happy to assist you. Please contact a PSE Energy Advisor online or by phone at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Can I enroll in both Green Power and Solar Choice?

Absolutely – we love your enthusiasm! Customers may enroll in both programs by purchasing any number of blocks from either program.

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What does it cost to participate in Green Power?

Green Power includes two options for electric customers. Each option supplies safe, clean energy for future generations, while promoting resource diversity and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

  1. Blocks: Purchase renewable energy in 200 kilowatt-hour (kWh) blocks for a fixed cost of $2 per block per month, with a minimum purchase of $4 per month. Buy as many blocks as you'd like, or match a portion or all your electricity usage to a variety of new renewable resources around the region.
  2. Usage: If you elect the usage option, your renewable energy purchase is based on your total monthly usage. The additional cost is $0.01 per kWh, or about $8 - $10 more per month for the average household (using 1,000 kWh/month). The environmental benefit of the renewable energy you purchase is equivalent to not driving approximately 20,212 miles a year (Based on the EPA's Green Power Equivalency Calculator).
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I want to enroll in Green Power at more than $20 a month, but don't see that option online. How do I sign up?

Thanks for your interest in supporting a cleaner, greener Pacific Northwest in a big way! We'd be happy to help you do so - just contact a PSE Energy Advisor online or by phone at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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What does it cost to participate in Solar Choice?

Customers purchase solar energy in 150 kilowatt-hour (kWh) blocks for a fixed cost of $5 per block per month. You can buy as many blocks as you'd like to match a portion or all your electricity usage to solar resources.

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I want to enroll in Solar Choice at more than $50 a month, but don't see that option online. How do I sign up?

Thanks for your interest in supporting Pacific Northwest solar in a big way! We'd be happy to help you do so - just contact a PSE Energy Advisor online or by phone at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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What is the difference between Green Power and Solar Choice?

Green Power includes a blend of resource types including wind, solar, low-impact hydro, landfill gas and livestock methane from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, while Solar Choice includes 100% solar electricity from Idaho and Washington. Green Power costs $0.01/kWh while Solar Choice costs just over $0.033/kWh. While the price of solar has declined dramatically over the last 10 years, the resource mix in Green Power includes lower cost renewable options like wind energy.

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Why is PSE offering a Solar Choice option?

This is a new program intended to encourage the development of solar energy in the Pacific Northwest and in the state of Washington. Because installing solar at home isn’t the right option for everyone, PSE offers Solar Choice as another way to match some or all of the power you use with clean, solar energy. The price of solar has been declining in recent years, making this program option more affordable and making solar energy more accessible.

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Why doesn't Solar Choice get more of its energy from Washington State?

We're always looking to support great solar projects in Washington and would love to grow Solar Choice using Washington resources. If you know of a solar project that would be interested in becoming a program resource, please contact us at renewables@pse.com.

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Can I visit the Solar Choice projects?

The Kingston Community Solar project in Kingston, WA is on the roof of their community center and easily seen from ground level. Grandview Solar Farm, in Idaho, is part of a large, utility-scale installation. It can be seen from the road.

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