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  • What is Emergi?
    Emergi is a renewable energy cooperative that helps members access clean and renewable energy from the grid and shop for the right clean energy technologies for their home. Think of us as your clean energy advisor, helping you make an impact with your power bill.
  • How does it work?
    Members sign up to our bill management service and are 100% solar powered from day 1. This service provides a reliable monthly bill so you’re protected from seasonal spikes, and we true-up with you annually. We also provide you with a single, simple rate and an annual escalator that is locked in at a rate lower than inflation. All of this is cost-competitive with what you currently pay, and less than you would pay to access renewable energy through your current electricity distributor. We provide members with monthly reports on their usage and impact, and work with them to recommend additional programs and technologies that can help them save money and go green via their energy usage.
  • Am I Still Eligible If I Am A Renter?
    Yes! Anyone who lives in a home in the United States with an electricity meter (i.e., you pay a power bill) can upgrade that electricity to solar with Emergi.
  • Can Emergi save me money on my power bill?
    Since launching in 2021, we have been able to save our members XXX on their power bill. We do not guarantee that your plan will be lower than what you currently pay - but the more members the cooperative has, the more powerful our collective bargaining power is, and the more savings we can ensure.
  • Where does the solar come from?
    Our 100% solar energy comes from local solar farms and is delivered through the existing grid infrastructure in your area. What does this mean? The electric grid is a big pool of energy, with lines and wires connecting energy generation sites to homes across the country. All the electrons that are generated and distributed across the grid are meticulously accounted for, which means it is possible to attribute the energy you use to a particular type of energy source. Emergi facilitates this attribution so that residential households are able to access renewable sources of energy more efficiently and easily. So...where are the panels? Currently we work with a community solar farm called Zelda in Asheboro, North Carolina to connect customers to solar energy. This means that your house is locally and renewably powered, without needing to install solar panels on your roof. It also means that we can provide you with solar power, even if you rent.
  • How do you work with my default electric distributor (e.g. Duke Energy)?
    Our work is complementary to the service the electricity distributor provides you. While they ensure that the lines and wires deliver seamless, reliable power to all buildings in their territory, we work to ensure that more and more of the power that is transmitted and distributed by them is clean and renewable. Think of us as your energy advisor, working at a layer in between you and your default utility, to make your energy usage more sustainable, affordable, and efficient. For anyone looking to nerd out over electricity market structures, we recommend this resource: US Electricity Markets 101. Most of the southeastern US functions as a “Traditional Regulated Market.”
  • What if I want solar panels on my own roof?
    We can help with that! As your energy advisor, we are here to shop around on your behalf and provide you with the most competitive estimates for clean energy resources for your home - this includes everything from solar panels to efficient appliances to smart thermostats. What’s more, because we are building collective purchasing power across the community, we can provide these technologies at a lower cost than if you were to shop on your own.
  • What are the pie charts on my plan?
    Joining Emergi means that you are transforming your energy usage from the default mix of energy sources into 100% solar. In order to show you what your current default resource mix is, we include this in our plans. So the pie chart on the left is the default resource mix for your area - the sources and types of energy that your electricity distributor uses in the course of providing you with power - and the pie chart on the right is what we guarantee your sources are when you join: 100% local solar power.
  • How do you determine my expected usage level?
    From simply your address and recent usage data, we are able to calculate a plan for you using a database and algorithm that we’ve been refining since before Emergi was launched. This tool uses a mix of public and private data from government and utility sources, including peer-reviewed research, to provide localized data on energy usage, down to the zip code or even census tract, based on typical home types This means that we can estimate your annualized average usage and provide you with a smoother, more predictable plan for energy use over the course of the year.
  • What if my expected usage seems wrong (too high/too low)?
    Since we’re only using one bill to generate an estimate, sometimes our plans set a usage level that might be higher or lower than you would expect. This is partially because our algorithm remains a work in progress - so all additional data helps. It is also because we try to provide each member with a little bit of buffer, for two reasons: Past usage does not guarantee future usage - weather patterns are constantly shifting We seek to set members up to see savings - rather than overages - at the end of each year (during the annual true-up process) That said, we’re more than happy to regenerate your plan using more historical data from your usage - just go to emergi.eco/plan, enter your current plan ID, and submit additional bill history through the form.
  • What does “solar rate” mean?
    Our plans include a unified, all-in rate - meaning that, rather than building your bill off of a number of fixed-cost charges, riders, taxes, etc., we give you a single rate per kilo-watt hour of energy that you are expected to use, and multiply that by the expected usage on your plan.
  • What does “solar savings rate” mean?
    The savings rate is a corollary to the unified solar rate: for every kilo-watt hour of electricity that you do not use, putting you under your expected usage, you save 80% of your personalized solar rate, credited during the annual true-up process. Because our rates do not include the same kinds of fixed costs, riders, and taxes that the default electricity distributor must charge you regardless of usage, we are able to save you more money when you use less electricity.
  • What is the Emergi Guarantee?
    A core part of Emergi’s mission is to leverage the energy transition to promote greater equity across communities. One key method of achieving this is by fighting energy poverty, a condition defined as paying more than 6% of one’s income on household energy. There are three key facets to the guarantee: Savings rate: for every kilowatt hour of electricity you save, you receive 80% back in savings. So, if your solar rate is 15¢ per kWh, you will get 12¢ back for every kWh you don’t use. These savings are passed on to you during the annual true-up process and spread out over the next year’s bills. Rate lock: we lock in your rate escalator when we provide your plan, so you know how much your rates will increase each year. We guarantee that they are equal to or lower than inflation. Bill payment support: if your household income is lower than the threshold specified in your plan, you qualify for bill payment support.
  • How do you protect against inflation?
    The power of a distributed electricity cooperative is that we can spread costs and savings over a broad geographic area and across different communities to ensure that the costs are optimal for our members. This means that, as we save our members money and manage accounts across jurisdictions, we can pass savings on not only in the form of dividends but also in lower costs and lower price hikes. Just as some countries experience more inflation than others, so some communities face more than others, so as we share in the costs and benefits across these geographies, we are able to help each other out and provide fewer shocks to our members. We will also continue to design our pricing so that we are able to cover costs of operating while prioritizing customer savings and these kinds of protections on an ongoing basis. As a nonprofit cooperative, rather than an investor-owned entity, we do not exist to serve the wellbeing of our shareholders - only our members.
  • What does it mean to be protected against seasonality? (What is “bill smoothing”?)
    Our all-in rate, multiplied by an annualized average expected usage, means that you receive a bill from us that is the same dollar amount month to month. So, instead of winter or summer peaks and spring and fall troughs that make your bill fluctuate through the seasons depending on your usage, you can budget for electricity as a consistent line item month over month. When we reach the end of each year with you, we review the usage and billing for the previous year and true up with each member. During the true-up process we make sure to spread savings or additional costs out over the coming year’s bills so that there are no financial shocks - maintaining the smoothing and protections year over year. This means that if you use less than expected, we reduce your bill for the coming year and spread those savings out, and if you use more than expected, likewise, those costs will be spread out over the coming year so they don’t hit all at once.
  • What do you mean that 100% of profits go to solving energy poverty?
    Emergi is a nonprofit cooperative, with a mission to make the energy transition more equitable. Any retained earnings - or profit - that is not used to operate our product or pay our employees is added to the Emergi Equity Fund. This fund is used to implement our Emergi Guarantee, to provide bill payment support to members who need it, and to ensure that our members are receiving savings, dividends, and other benefits from being part of the network. Our bill payment support is available to any member who might be experiencing energy poverty (paying >6% of their income on household energy) in a given month. Every plan includes an estimated income threshold under which a prospective member might be considered to be experiencing energy poverty, based on their usage. If you believe that you are paying more than 6% of your income on household energy, please contact us. If you would like to donate to the Emergi Equity Fund, the Emergi Foundation Paypal is available here. Emergi Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. EIN: 84-2205410
  • How is Emergi structured?
    We have a hybrid structure to ensure that all incentives are aligned in service of our members, creating an equitable energy transition from the bottom up. Having seen the challenges faced by investor-owned utilities and electricity cooperatives, we dreamt up a combination structure that allows for community ownership, competitive pricing, and mission-driven oversight. Cooperative (The COOP) is the entity that provides direct services to the members, including bill management and advisory services for other energy technologies in the home. Corporation (The INC) is the commercial entity, contracted by the COOP, that is able to competitively shop for the best solutions for members, negotiating pricing and managing large capital expenditures. Nonprofit (The ORG) is where the Emergi Equity Fund is housed, manages equity programming including bill assistance, and acts as a clearing house for the activities of the COOP and INC to ensure that member benefits and dividends are maximized across the solution stack.
  • How do you make money?
    We incorporate operational costs into the pricing of our core bill management product - meaning that our plans are not only competitive with the default electricity distributor, but also incorporate the costs of matching our members’ usage with solar from the grid, hosting our product online, covering payroll, etc. The product is formulated such that it will experience highly effective economies of scale, albeit in a “lumpy” trajectory. We can continue taking advantage of solar attributes that remain unclaimed on the grid - a phenomenon known as regulatory surplus - through contracts with existing solar projects and by being part of the capital stack for new projects currently in development. Our long-term vision is for COOP members to own the solar that they use, either because it is produced on their rooftops, or because Emergi has an ownership stake in the majority of projects from which the solar is generated. We recognize that this will require a new level of patient capital investment and infrastructure risk, so we seek to prove demand before developing the direct supply.
  • What’s your growth trajectory?
    We’re aiming to reach 1000 members across the south-eastern grid region by mid-2024. This will be achieved through current member referrals, partnerships with local businesses, and some light digital marketing. This benchmark enables the business to be self-sustaining with only the bill management service active. The path from there could take a few different forms depending on the needs of our members - but we typically divide these into two major categories: breadth, and depth. Breadth - we continue to grow the product geographically, providing 100% solar with bill smoothing at a competitive rate across the country, becoming the US’s first nationwide solar energy product Depth - we work closely with our existing member pool to identify additional opportunities to decarbonize their homes through electrification, efficiency upgrades, rooftop solar, electric vehicles, etc. Reaching breadth targets will involve engaging larger institutions to serve as channel partners - those who are not only members of Emergi themselves as an organization or business, but who could also refer their customers/clients, etc. to Emergi in meaningful ways. One example of this would be an employer who would recommend Emergi to new employees as part of their benefits package (much like one might provide a discount on a gym membership). We also recognize the importance of approaching customers at key moments for engagement with their electricity distributor: moving, renovating, and buying a new home. As such, we will be actively seeking partnerships with property management companies, landlords, and real estate agents so that we can be, if not the default provider during that conversation, then a cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient option when setting up new utility accounts.
  • What if I’d like to donate, invest, or otherwise get involved?
    Our ORG, formally called the Emergi Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that accepts tax-deductible donations. If you are based in the US and interested in getting involved in an advisory capacity, please request a plan and book some time with us. If you are outside the US, we cannot serve you yet, but would happily have a conversation. You can book time with us here. For investors: we are always open to conversations from patient capital investors. We expect to be actively raising funds for solar development projects in 2025.

Not finding your answer? Email us at hello@emergi.eco and we'll get back to you ASAP!

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