Go Green and Earn Green: The Energy Resale Quiz

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You've heard about the benefits of renewable energy, but did you know that your green efforts can be a significant source of profit? Test your knowledge of how selling electricity back to the grid works.
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Question 1 of 20
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1.Whatisrenewableenergy?
  • Energy derived from sources that are local to your area.
  • Energy produced from sources that renew themselves in a short period of time.
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Many traditional systems use nonrenewable resources, such as coal and oil, to produce energy. Renewable energy mechanisms use self-replacing resources like sun and wind, so they're cleaner and more sustainable than traditional systems.
  • Energy derived from steam-based systems.
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2.Whatisthemostcommontypeofsolarpowersystemforresidencesandsmall-scaleproduction?
  • photovoltaic cells
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: While solar thermal power plants and solar dish engines are highly effective methods for harnessing solar energy, their setup and maintenance costs are prohibitively high for most individual and small-scale producers. Photovoltaics, the technology behind solar panels, are far more common for noncorporate entities.
  • solar thermal power plants
  • solar dish engines
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3.Whatisthemostcommonactivematerialinasolarcell?
  • hydrogen
  • carbon
  • silicon
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Although other, cheaper materials are being developed, silicon is currently the most commonly used active material in solar cells. When light enters the cell, silicon loosens its electrons to form an electric current.
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4.Whatisthebestlocationforawindpowersystem?
  • between two high cliffs, so wind gets funneled into a single location
  • any area with other tall structures like trees and buildings
  • large, open plains with high wind flow
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: In order to take advantage of the most power, wind-based energy systems should be located in areas with the least interference possible. Large, open plains generally offer the best opportunities for energy capture.
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5.Whatisonesignificantchallengeofwindpowersystems?
  • residential and structural coding regulations
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Wind energy is actually more efficient than solar power. However, since wind turbines are most effective at heights of around 100 feet, they're subject to strict regulations that can severely limit their usage.
  • increased danger to local bird populations
  • They're less efficient than other methods for renewable energy generation.
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6.Whichofthesegassesiscollectedtopowermanybiomasselecticitysystems?
  • methane
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Biomass-powered energy systems make fuels from sources ranging from paper products to plant and animal waste. In some biomass systems, the methane produced during decomposition is collected to use as a fuel.
  • butane
  • oxygen
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7.RECsareakeycomponentofsellingelectricitybacktothegrid.WhatdoesRECstandfor?
  • Reused Electrical Components
  • Renewable Energy Certificates
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Renewable Energy Certificates, which are issued by the government denoting ownership of renewable energy, are what allow electricity resale to exist! Since traditional electric utilities are required to produce a certain amount of their energy through renewable means, they'll often buy that electricity from smaller producers through RECs instead of producing it themselves.
  • Reducing Emissions Consistently
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8.Howmanykilowatt-hours(kWh)doesoneRECrepresent?
  • 500
  • 1,000
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Both renewably and traditionally generated electricity are generally quantified in kilowatt-hours (kWh), or the use of 1,000 watts of electricity over one hour's time. One REC represents 1,000 kWh, which amounts to 1,000,000 watts.
  • 1,500
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9.Howdoenergyutilitieskeeptrackoftheelectricitythatindividualproducersfunnelbackintothegrid?
  • by using either unidirectional or bidirectional metering devices
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Just like the electric company reads your meter to determine how much electricity you've used in a month, either two unidirectional meters or one bidirectional meter can measure both how much electricity you've taken from the grid and how much you've funneled back in.
  • by determining the average capacity of each individual's energy generation system
  • by doubling the amount of electricity that the home or business uses in one year
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10.Whatincentivedoconventionalelectricutilitieshaveforpurchasingrenewableenergy?
  • The government will subsidize one commercial for every year that an electric utility meets it requirements for renewable energy production.
  • Any utility that purchases renewable energy receives a discount on their operating costs.
  • The Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act, or PURPA, requires that they do so.
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Since renewable energy systems can generate far more electricity than a single entity could possibly use, PURPA requires that producers sell excess electricity back to the grid.
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11.Whatisavoidedcost?
  • the cost that renewable electricity producers save by generating their own energy
  • the cost to the environment that is avoided by producing energy through renewable means
  • the cost that conventional electric utilities avoid by purchasing electricity generated by renewable means instead of producing it themselves
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Avoided cost is the cost that conventional electric utilities avoid by purchasing electricity generated by renewable means instead of producing it themselves.
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12.Howdoelectriccompaniesdeterminetherateatwhichtheypurchaseelectricityfromexternalrenewablesources?
  • Companies pay producers the wholesale rate for the electricity they produce in excess of their needs.
  • Companies pay producers the retail rate for the electricity they produce in excess of their needs.
  • both of the above
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Depending on the amount of electricity a producer takes from the grid, the rate at which they're paid for what they put in changes. If a producer takes out more than they put in, they'll be paid at the wholesale rate for their contributions. However, if they put in more than they use, they'll be paid at the retail rate.
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13.Howmuchmoneycanasmall-scalerenewableelectricityproducermakeannuallybysellingelectricitybacktothegrid?
  • about $1,000
  • about $2,000
  • about $3,000
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Since rates are determined by the market value of electricity, annual profits vary. However, most producers can make roughly $3,000 per year by selling electricity back to the grid.
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14.What'sanimportantthingtoconsiderifyou'relookingintogeneratingelectricitythroughsolarorwindpower?
  • building codes
  • environmental factors
  • both of the above
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: While weather-based energy production systems are nearly infinitely renewable, it's important to consider your environment before investing the substantial capital it takes to install such a system. After all, solar panels won't do much if it rains 280 days a year, and it's difficult to erect a wind turbine in the suburbs.
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15.Somefarmsaredevelopingmethodsforusingcowdroppingstogenerateelectricity.Whatisthisprogramaffectionatelynicknamed?
  • Cow Power
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: In addition to generating electricity, farmers are finding that Cow Power is an effective method for disposing of peskily prevalent cow droppings as well.
  • Re-moo-able Energy
  • Udderly Green
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16.Powerprovidersdousuallypaythewholesaleratefortheenergytheybuyfromrenewablesources,butthere'soneexception.Whatisit?
  • If a seller goes one month without contributing electricity to the grid, utilities will pay half the wholesale rate for the next month.
  • If a seller contributes more electricity to the grid than they take out, utilities will pay the retail rate for that electricity.
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: If you put more energy into the grid than you take out, some utilities will purchase it from you at the retail price.
  • If a seller adds another renewable generating system to their production, utilities will pay double the retail rate for that electricity.
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17.Whichofthefollowinglocationscouldbestaccommodateasolarpowersystem?
  • Seattle
  • London
  • San Diego
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: While solar power is a nearly infinite renewable resource for electricity, it's most effective in locations that receive large amounts and long periods of sunlight.
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18.Thesun'senergyisimmenselypowerful--andabundant.Ifwecouldharnessallofitforanhour,howlongcoulditkeeptheworld'selectricityneedssatisfied?
  • one year
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Believe it or not, the sun is just that powerful: One hour of sun power could satisfy the electricity needs of the entire world for a year!
  • six months
  • two months
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19.Althoughit'snotascommonforhomeuse,what'sanothereffectivemethodforproducingrenewableenergy?
  • geothermal energy
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Geothermal energy, or the heat the Earth produces, is another renewable source that can be harnessed to create electricity -- although it's harder to capture and less common than sources like solar and wind. Also, please don't burn plastic.
  • burning plastic that can't be recycled
  • 10,000 hamsters running in tiny little wheels
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20.Whattypesofrenewableenergysystemscanbeconnectedtothegrid?
  • Only wind, solar and biomass systems.
  • Only systems preapproved by your electric utility.
  • Any system that adheres to specific compliance requirements.
    Incorrect! Correct Answer: Even if your system isn't on your electric utility's list of preapproved mechanisms, not to worry. As long as you're in compliance with certain requirements (which your utility can share with you), you should be able to connect to the grid.
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