Our modern lifestyle has made our lives easier, but it also had a negative impact on Earth’s resources. While countries commit to contributing to preserve nature and reducing their carbon footprint, there’s still a long way to go to start seeing a positive change, and many industries have a hard time adjusting their operations to be more eco-friendly.
Adopting clean and renewable energy sources like solar is one of the most impactful ways we have to keep powering our daily activities while helping reduce global warming, and small generators such as homes with solar panels can have a bigger impact with the energy they produce while earning some money in the process thanks to carbon offset credits. We will cover these credits, how they work, and how you can sell them.
What Are Carbon Offset Credits?
Carbon offset credits are instruments issued by governments or environmental agencies that allow the owner to emit a determined amount of greenhouse gases; one carbon offset credit is the equivalent of one metric tonne of CO2. One offset credit is created every time a clean energy system produces energy, avoiding carbon emissions.
These credits are typically traded on carbon markets. They can be purchased by individuals, businesses, or governments to compensate for their own emissions, thus helping to combat climate change by “neutralizing” their carbon footprint.
To ensure the offset credit system’s integrity, the emissions reduction achieved by projects or activities powered by clean energy are measured and verified by independent organizations to ensure that the claimed reductions are accurate and additional (meaning they wouldn’t have occurred without the offset project). Once a credit is used to offset emissions, it is retired, ensuring it cannot be double-counted.
Carbon offset credits are a valuable tool for addressing climate change, especially when reducing emissions in specific sectors or activities is challenging or expensive. Now that you know what carbon credits are, let’s explore how small clean energy producers can sell their carbon credits for extra income.
How to Earn Money Selling Your Carbon Offset Credits
Before you start earning money with your carbon credits, here are some considerations:
- Understand the Carbon Offset Market: Before getting involved, it’s essential to understand the carbon offset market, including the standards, certification processes, and how offset credits are bought and sold. Familiarize yourself with recognized standards like the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Climate Action Reserve, or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
- Work with a third-party auditor: hire an independent third-party auditor or certification body accredited by your selected standard. The auditor will verify and validate your emissions reductions and compliance with the chosen standard. Once your emissions reductions are verified, the third-party auditor will issue carbon offset credits based on the reductions achieved.
- Register your credits: Register your carbon offset credits with a recognized carbon offset registry. In Canada, the CSA maintains the GHG CleanProjects Registry. Registration ensures the credits’ traceability and transparency.
- Market and Sell Credits: You can sell your credits directly to individuals, businesses, or government entities looking to offset their emissions. After selling and transferring them, make sure to retire the credits to prevent double counting and maintain market integrity.
Getting involved in the carbon credit offset market is time-consuming and requires extensive trading knowledge, which is why many micro-generators or people with smaller clean-energy projects choose to work with broker firms specialized in carbon credit trading. These companies audit, register, and sell the credits on your behalf for a commission fee, making it easier for individuals to participate in the carbon offset markets.
Thanks to the rise of the carbon credit market in recent years, there are many companies that can help you sell your carbon credits. In Alberta, Solar Offset and Green Alberta Energy are good options to consider.
Going Solar Is a Win-Win
Getting solar panels is an investment that offers you more than saving money in bills. Earning money by selling the carbon offset credits your solar system produces can be a financially rewarding venture with a promising future, as companies and countries that can’t reduce their gas emissions are turning to carbon credits to meet their environmental obligations more than ever.
If carbon credits are not a good fit for your interests, there are more ways to earn money with solar. Next, we will cover all you need to know about solar clubs and how you can take advantage of them.