Doesn’t SunPort make me pay for my power twice?

No. You pay your utility for the electricity, which is just generic energy. SunPort adds a very minor solar cost, which is not for energy but for certified information that attributes your energy use to a solar source. If you skip the information, you can still get energy, but it won’t be specifically linked to a solar source. The information allows what we call a “solar upgrade.” Only with this combination of generic energy and certified information can energy from the grid to be identified as renewable energy.

SunPort’s system runs on Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (S-RECs) which are produced from solar generation equipment connected to the grid. When the solar power is metered and fed into the grid, the meter reports how much energy went in, and that information gets certified into an S-REC. The energy that went into the grid becomes generic energy, completely indistinguishable and untrackable within the grid infrastructure. The S-REC is like a “claim-check” for solar. Whoever matches and consumes the S-REC with grid energy is said to be consuming solar energy.

Some utilities sell renewable energy which may seem to be only paying once for electricity, as compared to SunPort, but that’s just because it’s rolled up in the same bill. To do this, they still use RECs and you pay for them, even if they don’t show up as a separate charge on the power bill. Whether you get solar as a bundled product from your utility or as an upgrade from SunPort, both approaches rely on S-RECs which help pay to support solar generation, which is more expensive than other (non-renewable) forms of generation. By paying for a solar upgrade, you help create more demand for solar energy.