The Official Electric Shopping Website of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

When you shop for rates on PAPowerSwitch, you have the ability to select renewable energy sources. The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act requires that electric distribution companies and electric generation suppliers include a specific percentage of electricity from alternative resources in the generation that they sell to Pennsylvania customers.

Contact your supplier to learn more about their distribution of renewable energy sources, or learn more about popular types of renewable energy below. 

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy is energy from naturally replenished sources. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy can be used again and again. 

Available sources of renewable energy in Pennsylvania include:

  • Solar
  • Geothermal
  • Wind
  • Hydropower
  • Biomass

Solar Energy

Solar is the conversion of sunlight into electricity. There are two main types of solar energy: solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar thermal systems.

Solar PV panels convert sunlight directly into electricity using photovoltaic cells. Solar thermal electric systems use the sun to heat a liquid. This liquid produces steam, which spins a turbine connected to a generator to produce electricity.  

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy taps into the heat of the Earth. One type of geothermal energy, ground source heat pumps, provide heating and cooling for buildings. These systems function by circulating a fluid enclosed within a piping system that is buried within the ground. The constant temperature of about 55oF within these relatively shallow systems can provide cooling and limited heating.

The more traditional geothermal energy taps into much higher temperatures located miles below the Earth’s surface. Hot water and steam at temperatures of between 100oF to well over 300oF can be used in the production of electricity.

Wind Energy

Wind is used to turn the blades of a wind turbine. This movement drives a shaft that connects to a generator, producing electricity.


Hydropower systems use the movement of water to operate a turbine, creating electricity. Hydropower is currently the largest and among the least expensive source of renewable electricity produced in the United States.

Large and small-scale hydropower projects are most commonly used by clean-power generators to produce electricity. Micro-hydropower is very small-scale electricity production that might meet many of the needs of residential customers or small commercial operations that have access to this resource.


Biomass is organic material from plants or animals that can be used as a source of energy for heat, electricity and transportation fuels. It can be digested to produce methane, which in turn can be used to generate electricity or burned to simply produce heat or it can be fermented to produce fuels.

How Do I Tell What Renewable Energy my Supplier Offers?

When shopping for rates, you can select "Renewable Energy" as an offer preference.