srec prices ma nj and dc

SREC prices: explaining how to sell your RECs in the U.S.

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If you’ve been researching the best solar energy incentives available, you have likely heard something about solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). SRECs are a tradable commodity that you obtain from owning a solar panel system and producing clean energy. Because of a common state requirement known as the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), many utilities must generate a certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources, typically at least 20 percent. In several states and Washington D.C., the RPS specifies that a certain percentage of the renewable energy produced must come from solar power. States with this type of “solar carve-out” are willing to pay significant amounts of money to take credit for the power generated by solar homeowners.

One renewable energy credit (REC) is equal to 1 megawatt hour of energy produced (1,000 kilowatt hours), which means that the average solar panel installation garners anywhere between three and seven SRECs in a given year. Depending on the price offered in your state, cashing in on your SRECs could be a yearly payoff of several thousand dollars. If you’re considering solar, you’re probably wondering: where are the best available SREC prices, and what causes those prices to fluctuate?

Why do SREC prices change?

One important concept that can help you understand how SREC prices are determined is the alternative compliance payment (ACP), which can be understood as a fine given to utilities who do not meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard targets. A state’s solar ACP, or SACP, has a determinant impact on the price of SRECs. The SACP effectively sets a price ceiling for SRECs – utilities will buy SRECs to meet their RPS requirements, but they won’t pay more for them than the fine would cost. Thus, some of the best markets for SRECs are those that have the highest ACPs and the steepest incentive for utilities to buy from solar homeowners.

Like other intangible commodities such as a share in publicly traded stock, SRECs are bought and sold online through an intermediary, often referred to as SREC aggregators. The top platforms for buying and selling SRECs are SREC Trade, Sol Systems, and Knollwood Energy. Some solar installers, financing companies, and other organizations will also purchase SRECs from you up front to reduce your out-of-pocket installation costs. For example, Delaware’s SREC market is now entirely run through it’s retail electricity behemoth Delmarva Power. The primary benefit of selling your SRECs through an installer or solar financier is that you reduce your risk in exchange for immediate returns. You will likely get a lower payout for an SREC when selling directly to an installer or financing company, but you will get the immediate cash without any uncertainty.

Similar to stock prices, SRECs that are sold through aggregators have volatile pricing and will fluctuate over time. Policy changes such as increases or decreases in a state’s RPS goal or changes to ACPs for utilities can have immediate and drastic impacts on SREC pricing in a specific market. In other words, a state can become a commodity market for SRECs, or an unattractive market, practically overnight. Thus, the pro of using an online aggregator is the potential for greater returns for your SRECs but the con is increased risk.

Top SREC markets: NJ, MA and DC

If we use price as the key indicator, the best SREC markets in the U.S. for homeowners are Washington D.C., New Jersey and Massachusetts. To date, these are all the active SREC markets in the United States and the current and former prices for SRECs in each market:

Active U.S. REC markets with solar carve-out programs

SREC Market2020 SREC Price
Washington DC$440
New Jersey$225

*Prices accurate as of January 2020

In general, SREC prices fall each year, although there are always exceptions. This is to be expected as more solar power is installed in each of these states – it signals that there is a greater supply of SRECs in the market, which means that utilities are closer to reaching their RPS goals. Low prices can also indicate that the fines for not submitting RECs specifically for solar are unsubstantial. The other takeaway, however, is that the NJ, MA and D.C. SREC markets are still paying off major dividends for your PV credits and with prices likely to continue to fall, there is no better time to go solar than now.

It should be noted that for homeowners considering solar in states that have active SREC markets, you are only eligible to sell SRECs if you own your solar panels. Thus, if you choose to finance your PV system with a lease or power purchase agreement, you will not be eligible for this incentive that can net you $1,000 or more a year in top SREC states.

The typical solar homeowner in an SREC market like NJ, MA or DC is likely to see somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 from SRECs on top of their federal ITC rebate, state rebate and net metering bill credits. To see what solar would cost you based on your roof and competing offers in your town, try our Solar Calculator. If you’re ready to start looking at real quotes from pre-screened local installers, register your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace.

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13 thoughts on “SREC prices: explaining how to sell your RECs in the U.S.

  1. AL B

    @MATT W – Insider? This is simply an incentive for the owner of the panels. The SREC in my home state of NJ has been stead y for 2 years and above $200. It has only gone up since 2017. I sold 10 SRECS last year for $2300! The only person who gets fat pockets is the homeowner savvy enough to purchase or do a loan for the system.

  2. Donald Brewer

    On July 23rd, Governor Mike DeWine signed controversial legislation (HB 6) into law, bailing out coal and nuclear power plants while eliminating the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) at 8.5% in 2026.

    In regards to the state’s RPS, the solar-carve out is eliminated altogether from 2020 onward. As such, the Ohio SREC market will no longer exist after 2019.

    Because your facility is interconnected in the PJM Regional Transmission Organization, it is eligible to continue transacting its credits in the Pennsylvania Tier-I REC Market. Tier-I RECs are a different type of credit than SRECs and are currently valued just below $10 per credit

  3. Matt W.

    How can any of this be an incentive except for some insider?
    Price varies wildly, the expiration varies wildly.
    It is hardly an incentive.
    Smells like a handout to a handful of insiders that their buddies arranged for them.
    $400 for 1000 KWH? that is $0.40 a KWH – or 10-20X what that energy is worth as a renewable.
    These sort of money flows don’t end up promoting solar. They end up fattening some pockets of a few, and leaving less monetary resource to implement solar, and frustrating and wasting the time of many.
    Plan on these uncertain credits for your 25+ year span of your solar? No. Not something to bank on. Only something for a few insiders to grab now and then they’ll be onto their next grab that is probably in the works now.

  4. Roger Robbins

    Just got my $2.75 for my latest sold SREC in Va. Why the vast difference in prices from one state to another?
    Selling SREC’s factor into figuring payback on a solar system, we get much less than our estimated sales figure. I understand it varies, but why are they bring over $300. in Mass and DC, but less than $3.00 in Va, anybody know?

  5. Pete S.

    In late 2017 I had paid in full for my 20 panel 6500W system here in Massachusetts and had it turned on Jan 2018. I was not aware there was a deadline to sell my credits. On Feb 12 2019 I created an account on SRECTrade and they told me that unfortunately I will loose all my SREC-II credits previous to Oct 2018 since there are deadlines for selling my RECs (Renewable Energy Credits).

    Has anyone had a similar experience and is there any way to get these credits back?


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