Explain it quickly: How to go renewable without rooftop solar

Even if you’re renting, you can go 100% renewable. Learn about GreenPower and power purchase agreements.

It’s faster and easier to go renewable than most people think.

Most of us are deeply concerned about the environment and would like to take more personal action to mitigate the effects of climate change.

At the City of Sydney, we’re often asked, “How can I get renewable electricity if installing solar isn’t an option?”

You can switch to renewably-sourced electricity in less than 20 minutes. You don’t need any upfront money. And you don’t need to join a community project, like solar gardens, if that’s not your thing.

Here’s a quick guide to your renewable options if rooftop solar isn’t an option for you.

Renters or homeowners living in apartments and houses

Opt for an official 100% GreenPower electricity plan.

Switching to an accredited 100% GreenPower-based electricity plan is the biggest thing many of us can do for the environment today. Most electricity providers sell GreenPower, but they might call it something different, like green energy.

Call your electricity provider and start the conversation with: “I want to switch to 100% GreenPower. What’s your best offer? Can you beat my current deal?"

It’s important to be explicit in asking for accredited GreenPower.

Companies often try to offer other ‘green’ plans, like carbon neutral or carbon offset plans. But these plans are not about 100% renewable electricity – they don’t support the growth of Australia’s renewable sector.

Read tips on how to negotiate the best GreenPower deal.

GreenPower customer Ilana in front of her rented apartment

Small businesses

Opt for an official 100% GreenPower electricity plan.

GreenPower electricity plans are available for businesses too. Sydney businesses, such as homewares store Koskela and digital agency circulate, tell us there are some very good GreenPower rates available.

Shop around and negotiate a good deal.

It can be difficult to find everything you need to know on websites. We recommend calling electricity providers and asking them for their best deal.

Alana Stocks, founder and CEO of Circul8

GreenPower customer, Australian homewares store Koskela

Medium or large businesses

Take a look at power purchase agreements.

As a business owner, you may have heard the growing chatter about power purchase agreements or PPAs.

These are agreements that a business or organisation will buy electricity from a generator, such as a solar or wind farm, at an agreed price over a fixed term, usually 10 years.

Entering into a corporate agreement with a renewable-energy generator can increase price certainty for a business. This makes it an excellent investment while reducing your emissions and improving your environmental reputation.

We have a PPA. Other organisations with PPAs include Ascham School in Edgecliff, the University of NSW, Kettle Chips, and Sydney Opera House.

Read more about PPAs.

We want to make it easier for you to go 100% renewable. If you have questions about GreenPower, PPAs, or getting solar installed, email us at renewableenergy@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

Good luck. We need more people like you going 100% renewable.

We went 100% renewable in July 2020. We buy electricity from wind and solar farms in regional NSW covers all of our operations – 115 buildings, 75 parks, 5 pools and 23,000 street lights.

Posted . Last updated .

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