Arcadia Power Review: Is It Worth It?

The switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources should’ve happened a long time ago, and Arcadia power is here to make it possible for everyone. They have four core values that drive the business: the personal choice to decide where your energy comes from, trust in the company, truth in their impact reports, and simplicity in what is a complex system.

At the moment, only 13% of power in the US comes from renewables. Arcadia firmly believes that when renewable energy is accessible to all, then the transition to renewables can be accelerated. So they have optimized their energy to have the highest impact and the lowest cost. How have they done this?

Arcadia is an energy marketplace that allows users to buy into wind farms and solar panels installed elsewhere through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The interconnected grid allows operators to balance, distribute, and deliver electricity across the country, reducing the likelihood of an outage or surge. This also means that when electricity enters the grid, there is no way to track it. Though it is typically sourced nearby, it could be coming from anywhere. RECs are the only way to track clean and renewable energy as it moves through the power grid.

Arcadia partners with renewable energy generators to source, verify, purchase, and retire RECs on your behalf. They buy energy from renewable sources, collecting RECs, and sell them to consumers. Thus, when you purchase RECs, you are supporting renewable energy. For existing renewable energy generators, RECs are a critical source of income and a financial advantage. For developers, they are a financial incentive to build new renewable energy farms. Once a REC is retired, cannot be consumed again.

This system of purchasing RECs would ordinarily be quite complicated and difficult, but Arcadia makes it simple. By purchasing a REC, you are supporting renewable electricity production in the region of generation. A REC represents the environmental benefits of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy. For every unit of renewable electricity generated, an equivalent amount of RECs is produced, and by purchasing and pairing RECs with your electricity service you are using and receiving the benefits of that renewable electricity. Your REC purchase also helps build a market for renewable electricity. Increased demand for renewable electricity helps reduce conventional electricity generation in the region where the renewable electricity generator is located. The goal of Arcadia is to have consumers start demanding RECs, then supply and demand will reach equilibrium, and economic forces will set a higher, more consistent price, which is great for renewable energy generators and developers.

To further enhance the integrity of this marketplace, Arcadia has established a set of criteria for their RECs that they believe will have the largest possible impact at the most affordable price with the goal of acquiring 100% renewable energy to avert the dire consequences of climate instability.


Brief History of Arcadia Power

Arcadia Power was founded in 2013 as a home energy platform focused on providing clean energy and financial savings. Their business model allows for a way to increase demand for sustainably sourced electricity by cleaning up the overall energy mix to the grid. Since then, their business has grown to be quite profitable, winning substantial funding rounds.

In June 2017, Arcadia Power started by raising $6,000,000 Series A Round from BoxGroup, Energy Impact Partners, and Wonder Ventures. Then, in August 2018, Arcadia raised a $25,000,000 Series B Round from BoxGroup, Cendana Capital, Energy Impact Partners, G2VP, McKnight Foundation, ValueAct Spring Fund, and Wonder Ventures. And most recently, in December 2019, Arcadia raised a $30,000,000 Series C Round from BoxGroup, Energy Impact Partners, G2VP, Macquarie Capital Funds, and ValueAct Capital.


Types of Services Offered By Arcadia Power

The principal service that Arcadia offers is the ability to power your home with renewable energy from wind or solar farms. They work with the electric utilities, which are the companies that install and maintain wires that transmit electricity, to ensure that the power comes from their wind and solar farms via RECs. Your power will still come from your local utility, but by purchasing power through Arcadia, you can offset the environmental impact of buying carbon-emitting energy from your local utility.

By using Arcadia, you will have the ability to track your home impact and explore where the energy you use comes from, insights of how much coal, oil, gas, and uranium you have averted each month, and track your impact by the energy you consume. This dashboard includes customized energy-saving tips to make the most of your bill. They also offer personal energy advisors, who provide advice and answer questions to Arcadia’s customers.

Arcadia offers primarily residential electricity services. However, because, for many people, the home is the new office, they have plans with businesses to extend corporate sustainability goals by providing renewable energy at the employee’s homes. The pandemic has led to a 10% increase in home energy use, which is approximately a 90kWh increase/month, which would lead to 82 pounds of extra CO2 per home per month. This can add up very quickly, which is why organizations like Goldman Sachs, McDonald’s, Biogen, Urbint, Audi, and Reformation have partnered with Arcadia.

In the future, Arcadia would like to create its own community solar programs and use part of your utility bill to fund a community farm. However, they need to wait until legislation allows.


Electricity Plan Reviews

Arcadia Power’s electricity plans are fairly simple. They just add 1.5 cents per kWh per electric bill. This comes out to a few dollars per month, depending on the size of the home and the power consumption.

They also have a free version, but that version only sources 50% of power from renewables.


FAQs

What is renewable energy?

These are energy sources that are inexhaustible (solar, wind, geothermal) or replenished over a short time (hydro, biomass). Gas and coal are fossil fuels and are not renewable. Nuclear has negative environmental impacts like harmful radioactive waste byproducts.

What is cleaner electricity?

The traditional generation of electricity is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the US and creates more CO2 than any other sector. Cleaner electricity is generated from sources that produce little to no air pollution (carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides) or radioactive waste. Sources of cleaner electricity include wind, solar power, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower.

What is community solar?

A community solar farm is a solar power installation that accepts capital from and provides RECs and tax benefits to individuals and organizations. In some systems. you buy individual solar panels which are installed on the farm after your purchase. In others, you purchase kW capacity or kWh of production. The surplus output of the farm goes to the companies or governments who operate them, after accounting for technical costs and rates.

Do Arcadia’s green renewables actually make a difference?

Yes. Purchasing electricity through Arcadia is funding the renewable energy market by driving up the demand for RECs. With increased RECs, power generation sources will lean more heavily on renewable energy to create their own RECs.

Will I need to rewire my home?

You don’t need to rewire your home. Your electricity will still come from the same utility company.

How do RECs work?

Every power generator sells power into the grid at the same price. But, when the energy comes from a renewable energy source, a REC is also created and can be sold to an energy consumer. That’s the financial advantage for renewable energy generators. This incentivizes the building of new renewable energy farms, by strengthening the financial outlook over various fossil fuel alternatives.

How does a REC marketplace work?

While there is no carbon tax in the US, RECs serve as a reciprocal advantage and financial incentive for carbon-free energy. The size of this financial incentive depends on the price of a REC–the higher the price, the greater the incentive. Currently, this price can vary dramatically. A single REC can cost a few pennies or a few hundred dollars. This is due to the fact that the demand for RECs is far lower than the supply. The primary buyers of RECs today are businesses and institutions that are aiming to meet their own renewable energy goals, which are usually based on regulatory requirements. By adding everyday consumers to the marketplace, the price will go up and make renewable energy more profitable and widespread.

How do you choose which RECs to purchase?

The energy in RECs Arcadia purchases comes from US wind and solar farms that were built within the last 15 years. These RECs are purchased and retired no more than 21 months after they’re created. To verify this, Arcadia ensures that the number of retired RECs matches the sales of clean energy to Arcadia members. All of these criteria and claims are independently analyzed, audited, and verified each year by Deloitte.


Verdict

Though it is a complicated marketplace and system, the set up of Arcadia is actually quite simple. There are no contracts and billing is hassle-free. They work directly with the utility company and integrate their systems. Furthermore, the cost of the service is minimally different from fossil fuel generation. Many plans within larger companies have a 2-3 cent difference to add a renewable option to the plan. However, if you were looking for something more structured and regulated like a fixed-rate plan, Arcadia is probably not the plan for you.

Arcadia is a great solution for young people who might be moving around from place to place and not want to enroll in a fixed-rate plan, nor go sifting through the weeds trying to find a suitable renewable plan. Arcadia offers folks who mightn’t have the ability to invest in companies themselves, to invest in the renewable energy marketplace, which has the capability to make a larger impact on the world around us. It can also be done from anywhere in the country, which opens options for a lot of consumers. If you are not near a large renewable energy source and your utility is only powered by fossil fuels, Arcadia is a perfect option to use your electricity bill to invest in a greener future and offset the fossil-fueled electricity that you are forced to consume based on your location.