Santa Clara Green Power FAQ
- What is Santa Clara Green Power?
Santa Clara Green Power is a voluntary clean energy program offered by Silicon Valley Power (SVP) that gives customers to the ability to cover up to 100 percent of their electricity usage with renewable sources of power for minimal additional cost. When you enroll in the program, SVP purchases renewable energy certificates from western wind facilities (80%) and solar electric facilities (20%) located in California in an amount equal to your entire electricity demand.
Participation in the Santa Clara Green Power program also supports SVP’s Neighborhood Solar program, which helps fund solar electric systems at schools and non-profits in Santa Clara.
- Who is eligible for Santa Clara Green Power?
Santa Clara Green Power is offered to all residential, commercial and industrial customers of Silicon Valley Power.
- How much does participation cost?
Residential participants pay an additional 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to cover 100 percent of electric power usage with renewable energy. The average Santa Clara resident using around 500 kilowatt-hours a month will pay about $7.50 extra on their monthly utility bill.
Businesses also pay an additional 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour or $15 per block of 1,000 kilowatt-hours. Commercial and industrial participants can qualify for lower prices per unit with larger purchase volumes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on large purchases.
- How will I be billed?
Your participation in Santa Clara Green Power will be reflected in a separate line item on your monthly utility bill.
- Will the renewable energy go into my home?
Because of the way that power grids work, electricity from a specific facility or source generally does not flow directly to a specific customer's home. However, when you enroll in Santa Clara Green Power, we guarantee that renewable energy in the exact amount of your electricity use is generated and delivered to Silicon Valley Power’s electricity grid (Western Electricity Coordinating Council region).
Individually and collectively, these purchases support the production of renewable energy, increase the financial value of power from renewable sources, and create a transparent and sustainable market that encourages new development of wind and solar facilities.
To learn more about how the electric grid works, visit the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s website.
- What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?
- RECs are sold separately from physical electricity and represent the legal rights to the environmental benefits of each megawatt-hour of green power produced by renewable energy generators. RECs purchased as part of the Santa Clara Green Power program are sourced from regional and national wind farms and solar projects in California. The RECs are verified and certified by Green-e Energy to avoid double counting and protect consumers against fraud.
When you sign up for Santa Clara Green Power, SVP contracts with certain renewable energy producers to buy enough certificates to match your consumption every month. The sale of these certificates financially encourages and enables renewable energy producers to build more wind and solar facilities.
Unlike electricity itself, renewable energy certificates can be stored up so you can buy solar energy when the sun is down and wind power when the air is calm—a win-win situation for everyone.
- Will the power to my home be dependent upon the wind blowing?
No. The existing power supply network assures uninterrupted electricity service to your home even when intermittent wind resources are not available. Additionally, RECs purchased through the Santa Clara Green Power program represent the environmental attributes of renewable energy, not the physical energy.
- Do windmills harm birds and other wildlife?
No. Your power does not come from the older style of wind turbines, which have been the subject of recent controversy regarding wildlife issues. Santa Clara Green Power comes from modern wind turbines that have come online since 1999, where bird deaths are infrequent due to three changes that have taken place.
- Prospective sites for wind farms are carefully evaluated to ensure they do not fall in migration routes
- Turbine blades are much larger and move more slowly
- Modern turbines are built in such a way as to prevent nesting in turbine ballasts
A recent large-scale study found that only 1.7 birds were killed annually by each turbine at the Stateline facility, a large wind facility in Oregon, and that none of these birds were on any federal or state endangered species lists.
- Does the power come from new facilities?
Only “new” renewables from facilities that have come online in the past 15 years are eligible to meet Green-e Energy standards. Santa Clara Green Power’s portfolio is sourced entirely from “new” renewable energy facilities that have come online since 1999.
- What benefits do Santa Clara Green Power participants receive?
Participants can meet their personal or corporate sustainability goals in a cost-effective manner and are recognized among Santa Clara’s environmental leaders. Additionally, participants receive a welcome kit, which includes certification of their contribution to the environment. Participants also receive regular program updates through the Santa Clara Green Power e-newsletter and other materials.
- How can I sign up?
There are three ways to enroll.
- You can enroll online by sending an email to email@example.com or sign up on our secure website
- You can call 408-244-SAVE (7283)
- You can fill out and mail in one of our bill inserts in your utility bill or brochures found throughout the community, or download the enrollment form (PDF: 39.3K)
Commercial and Industrial customers should contact a Key Customer Representative at (408) 615-5651 to discuss their options.
- Who is SVP's Santa Clara Green Power partner?
3Degrees is a California-based provider of green power and carbon offset products and services to Fortune 500 companies, utilities, green building firms and other organizations that are working to make their operations, products and services more sustainable.