Renewable energy certificates explained

Friday July 30, 2021

When renewable electricity is put onto the grid, it mixes with the electricity generated from fossil fuels, nuclear, and other sources. Tracking the electricity from a wind or solar farm would be like tracking a glass of water poured into a river. 

So how can you buy renewable power for your business or home if it’s impossible to know where your electricity came from? Building a separate grid just for renewable power would be expensive and wasteful. For some businesses and individuals, installing on-site solar panels is a reliable, cost-effective way to get renewable power. But not everyone has the time or the infrastructure to do that. 

That’s where renewable energy certificates, or RECs, come in. RECs are the global standard for tracking how much renewable energy is produced. Every time one megawatt-hour (MWh) of power is generated, one REC is produced as well. 

How do RECs work? 

When you buy a REC, you own the environmental and social benefits that come with a MWh of renewable energy. In other words, that MWh of green electricity was put onto the grid on your behalf. 

Father daughter tablet

When you sign up for Bullfrog Power’s green electricity, you’ll buy enough RECs to match your electricity usage. That gives you the right to say you’re powered by 100% clean, renewable energy—or as we like to say, you’ll be bullfrogpowered! RECs are a simple and effective way to reduce your carbon emissions—you’ll keep buying your physical electricity from your utility as usual, so you won’t need any special equipment or wiring. 

Every REC sold shrinks your carbon footprint, directly supports green energy generators, and creates demand for more renewable projects that may not have been built otherwise. The more renewable energy we produce, the less we’ll rely on polluting fossil fuels.  

RECs are essential to what we do. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to verify that the electricity put onto the grid on your behalf comes from a clean, renewable source. (We’re audited annually by Deloitte. See our Audits page for more details, including a copy of Deloitte's report.) 

What makes a high-quality REC? 

Not all RECs are created equal—the energy source, the age of the generating facility, and the location all affect the REC’s quality. We take care to source only the highest quality RECs, which will have the most positive environmental impact. 

  • Energy source: Our RECs come from EcoLogo-certified wind, solar, and low-impact hydro facilities. We don’t support pollution-generating biomass. 
  • Generator age: We source RECs from new renewable facilities to increase demand for even more clean energy projects. Many of the renewable projects we source from were built with Bullfrog customers in mind! 
  • Location: At least 50% of your RECs come from your region—so you’re making a difference in your community, not just where RECs are cheapest. 

Is green electricity the same as RECs? 

REC ribbon cutting solar

When you choose Bullfrog’s green electricity, you’re getting high-quality RECs and more. As a bullfrogpowered business, you’ll receive emissions reduction statements to simplify your sustainability reporting, as well as marketing benefits that help you easily and effectively communicate your purchase. When you bullfrogpower your home, you can access rewards that let you show your support for green energy. 

In addition to directly supporting renewable energy generators, Bullfrog Power also funds community-based renewable projects like solar panels on schools and in Indigenous communities. Part of your green electricity purchase will go towards new projects that are as good for communities as they are for the climate. 

Have any questions? We’d be happy to answer. Get in touch by emailing