Electric Utility Programs

Design, implement, and grow electric utility green power and community solar programs

Renewable energy certificate (REC)-based utility green power programs have been around for 20 years. Today, there are more than 7.5 million customers enrolled in these programs, which are offered by the majority of large utilities nationwide. The growth and success of green power programs is understandable since they are straightforward for utilities to design, launch, and scale – and the accessibility, simplicity, and low cost make them a win for customers, too.

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GREEN POWER PROGRAMS
COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAMS

Solar is a renewable energy resource that is becoming increasingly cost-effective to deploy at almost any scale. Within the last 10 years this has led to a wide variety of solar programs and products offered by utilities – from small-scale community installations to large-scale solar tariffs. With this growth trend and favorable costs, it’s clear why so many utilities offer community solar programs to their residential and business customers.

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GREEN POWER PROGRAMS
COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAMS

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HOW WE HELP

Working with 3Degrees ensures you can feel confident in the program’s quality, compliance, and appeal.

  • We are the trusted, industry-leading partner with decades of experience focused on supporting voluntary green power and community solar programs that support customers’ desire to reduce their carbon emissions. 
  • Our team delivers a one-stop-shop in the marketplace –  from program design and optimization services, to program supply, to launches, enrollment campaigns, marketing and customer acquisition, and ongoing implementation. 
  • We’re focused and experienced in Green-e® compliance, helping customers to navigate the audit process and marketing compliance reviews.

Results from our work on electric utility voluntary programs:

Residential customer positive perception, satisfaction Commercial customer satisfaction and retention Forward progress on decarbonization in alignment with ESG goals Reduced risk exposure

 

 

OUR GREEN POWER PROGRAM SERVICES

Program Design

For two decades, 3Degrees has helped utilities answer fundamental questions as they design their REC-based green power programs. We advise our partners on topics including optimal program pricing to maximize customer enrollments, accurate forecasting of enrollments and MWh sales, Green-e® Energy certification, and REC procurement strategy.

CASE STUDY

3Degrees worked closely with long-time partner Pacific Power to develop a REC procurement strategy for its Blue Sky renewable energy program that helped ensure the development of 51 megawatts (MWs) of additional renewable capacity in the state of Oregon.  The program included four new build projects across Pacific Power’s service territory, including the Huntington Wind Project and two projects in southern Oregon where 40 percent of Pacific Power’s customer base lives.

Program Optimization

3Degrees provides assistance when utilities have an established green power program but its growth has stalled, customer enrollments are declining, or when they are expanding their program options. We carefully assess the utilities’ challenges and design a strategy to effectively meet their financial and enrollment goals.

CASE STUDY

A Midwestern investor-owned utility launched its green power program in 2011 but, after several years, customer enrollment was stagnating and the program was no longer hitting internal metrics. The utility engaged 3Degrees to craft a customized targeting and messaging strategy to help bring new life to the program. We began by analyzing customer research and market data to help identify distinct customer segments most likely to participate, then created custom value propositions and messaging pillars for each of the target segments. The new strategy kick-started the program and customer enrollments began to steadily increase.

Marketing and Customer Acquisition

Our teams have deep expertise developing effective marketing and outreach strategies for REC-based green power programs, which include a combination of insight-based integrated marketing campaigns, effective messaging, and multi-touch outreach efforts such as courtesy knock, courtesy call, events and tabling, and more.

CASE STUDY

With the support of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, 3Degrees ran a multi-channel community campaign in South Portland, Maine, to increase participation in the Maine Green Power Program. The campaign leveraged digital and print marketing channels and on-the-ground outreach, and produced extremely strong results – the average monthly green power participant rate and the number of South Portland participants both doubled, and twenty businesses enrolled or increased their participation in Maine Green Power as a result of the four week campaign.

Photo of a 3Degrees employee with a set of headphones on smiling

BY THE NUMBERS:

3Degrees’ outreach and courtesy call teams have enrolled over 570,000 customers in utility programs through over one million one-on-one conversations.

"The 3Degrees team works directly with our department to promote the Blue Sky renewable energy program. They understand our brand and our processes and work with us to promote the Pacific Power brand through the Blue Sky program. Together we create marketing efforts that resonate with our customers and are in line with our goals for the Pacific Power brand."

— BERIT KLING, BLUE SKY RENEWABLE ENERGY PROGRAM MANAGER

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OUR COMMUNITY SOLAR PROGRAM SERVICES

Program Design

The success of a community solar program depends on sound program design. 3Degrees works with utilities to design programs that provide maximum value for both utilities and customers, advising on critical factors such as:

  • Accurate sales and subscription forecasting, using proprietary analytics and scenario modeling to support the utility in facility sizing and location
  • Designing rate and credit structures
  • Risk mitigation strategies

Program Optimization

Once a community solar program is up and running, it may sell out quickly — prompting interest in scaling the current model — or it may need extra assistance to reach the desired enrollment target. Either way, 3Degrees can help.

CASE STUDY

In 2018, Georgia Power launched its Community Solar program; the following year, the utility contracted 3Degrees to assess whether its current strategy would achieve program sell out. 3Degrees analyzed Georgia Power’s customer base, created unique customer segments and profiles for those most likely to participate in the program, and recommended a strategy for the utility to achieve its goals of selling out ahead of schedule and within budget.

Marketing and Customer Acquisition

3Degrees has deep expertise developing effective marketing and outreach strategies that align with our utility partners’ goals and achieve enrollment targets for community solar programs across the country.

CASE STUDY

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) launched its first community solar program, Solar Choice, in 2017. PSE contracted 3Degrees to craft messaging and design an integrated community solar marketing strategy that included direct mail, email, and outreach campaigns. The program was immediately successful, selling out capacity within six months of its launch and has since nearly tripled.

"For any utility who is thinking about offering a Community Solar program, I would highly recommend partnering with 3Degrees. Their experienced team can guide you through all phases of the customer journey, from creating visibility for the program to customer acquisition and retention. We couldn’t have done it without them."

— PROGRAM MANAGER, MIDWESTERN INVESTOR-OWNED UTILITY

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