How does my utility know that I’m using solar energy when I use SunPort?

Your utility does not need to know you’re using solar energy, since SunPort relies on a higher-level renewable energy system that overlays the entire US power grid. In other words, there are specific local utilities that know about the solar resources we use, but they don’t know details about where it is used. These utilities have established intertie agreements with the owners of the particular solar farms we source our S-RECs from, which gives those facilities the right to put solar into the grid. The utilities know solar goes into the grid from those systems, but they don’t know where it will be used or who can legally claim it, and they don’t need to know. The S-RECs are the way that those claims get tracked, and there is an independent system established for just that purpose.

The entire US power grid is interconnected and works in such a way that certified solar being fed in at any point can be used at another point, regardless of the specific energy flows within the grid. Your use of solar energy does not depend on your local utility per se, but rather on the fact that the utility is part of the same grid. Once we obtain legal rights for solar fed into the power grid at certain given locations, we can independently transfer those rights to you, for use at any other location(s) where you take power from that same grid. Your use of solar depends on the reality and legitimacy of the solar fed in, as well as the integrity of our matching, but not on the local utility’s knowledge or participation.

That said, we are talking with utilities about SunPort because they are interested in ways to make solar more accessible to their customers. We are very interested in collaborating with utilities and helping them make solar installations and use more pervasive throughout their service areas. We just didn’t want SunPort’s functioning to be dependent on whether or not we have agreements in place with specific utilities.