Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)?
A REC is a certificate, created by a tracking system, such as the New York Generation Attribute Tracking System (NYGATS), that represents the attributes of one megawatt hour of electricity generated from a renewable source like solar or wind. These RECs, or certificates, are needed to substantiate environmental claims related to energy use, such as for compliance with a State-mandated renewable compliance program, or for a “voluntary” claims such as a climate action pledge. For a more detailed description, please see the EPA’s Guide to Purchasing Green Power.
What is a Voluntary Claim
Voluntary claims are those not required or mandated by any governmental policy or program. One common example is where a customer voluntarily agrees, through some third-party sponsor or organization, to reduce its carbon footprint by some defined amount. Often the customer will reduce its footprint by installing clean energy technologies such as solar to displace its use of fossil fuels. When an entity seeks to demonstrate to the third-party organization that it has fulfilled its pledge, the third-party will require the customer to retire RECs in a quantity sufficient to certify the pledge as having been fulfilled.
What can I do with the RECs from my distributed generation (DG) project?
According to the Value of DER Order, DG project owners that have Net Energy Metering or Value of DER Phase 1 tariffs may be entitled to the RECs from these projects but solely for the purpose of retiring the RECs towards the end use customer’s voluntary environmental claims. In order to create RECs for your project you must register the project in NYGATS and report generation data in accordance with the NYGATS Operating Rules [PDF] .
I installed solar on my home, does this affect me?
Probably not. The RECs to which you may be entitled have no monetary value, as they are not eligible for use in complying with any governmental program, cannot otherwise be sold, and are only of use in verifying voluntary claims. Homeowners with solar generally don’t make claims that require RECs or third party certification.
Why can’t I get certificates prior to January 1, 2016? How do I make claims for pre-2016 renewable generation?
NYGATS commenced tracking generation in January 2016 and therefore there are no RECs for NY generation prior to the launch of NYGATS. In order to make claims where no RECs exist you will need to demonstrate how much electricity your system generated, that you have the right to environmental attributes of that generation. Check your contract with your project installer to see if there are contract clauses in relation to RECs or environmental attributes. As stated in the Value of DER Order, NYSERDA no longer makes any claim to attributes of projects funded under the Customer Sited Tier or NY-Sun incentive programs. Third party certification bodies can provide specific guidance on what is required for them to verify your claim.
Why can’t NYSERDA register my project for me?
Only the project owner or the owner’s agent, as indicated on the NYGATS Designation of Responsible Party, can register a project in NYGATS. As per The Value of DER Order, NYSERDA no longer has any right to register generation projects in NYGATS.
I already report my generation data to NYSERDA's DG Integrated Data website (managed on behalf of NYSERDA by CDH Energy), do I have to report to NYGATS too?
The generation data reported to the website managed by CDH Energy is used by NYSERDA to verify performance as required by certain incentive programs. This data is not reported to NYGATS. If you would like to create certificates for your project, you must report generation data to NYGATS according to the NYGATS Operating Rules [PDF]. CDH Energy is an approved Qualified Independent Party (QIP) for data reporting in NYGATS. You may contact CDH Energy with regard to providing Qualified Independent Party services for your project but this service will not be provided by NYSERDA.
I’m confused by the condition under which DG project RECs can be transferred between accounts with a contractual agreement, can you provide an example?
Example: A municipality has a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a solar developer under which the RECs are to go to the municipality. In this case, the solar developer owns the PV system and would register the project and report generation data to NYGATS. Under the PPA, as long as the municipality continues to meet its obligations under the PPA, the developer will transfer the RECs to municipality. Then the municipality can report that they have reduced their carbon footprint and use the retirement of the solar system RECs to substantiate that claim.