EcoShare — Carbon Offsets
Use your electric bill to lend support to conservation and environmental projects throughout Texas by signing up for Reliant EcoShare℠. When you sign up for the EcoShare program, a small amount will be added to your monthly electricity bill. A portion of that amount will go to EarthShare of Texas, and a portion will go towards purchasing carbon offsets. Any remaining proceeds will be used to help Texas homeowners with rebates for solar panel installation.1
You don't have to change your electricity plan to participate. Your EcoShare amount will simply be added to your monthly bill, and you can choose whether you want to give $5.95 or $3.95 per month.
EcoShare participants have helped raise nearly half a million dollars to help EarthShare of Texas support dozens of local environmental groups. Learn more about the program, EarthShare of Texas and carbon offsets below, and decide which level of participation works for you. We want to help keep Texas beautiful for decades to come, and we can do it together.
Levels of participation
Reliant EcoShare Gold
- A flat $5.95 monthly amount
- $2 will be donated to EarthShare of Texas
- Includes the purchase of 1,000 lbs. of carbon offsets
- Any remaining funds go toward solar installation incentives to help Texas homeowners
Reliant EcoShare Silver
- A flat $3.95 monthly amount
- $1 will be donated to EarthShare of Texas
- Includes the purchase of 500 lbs. of carbon offsets
- Any remaining funds go toward solar installation incentives to help Texas homeowners
EcoShare program details
- A simple, flexible way for you to contribute to a better environment
- Reliant will donate funds to EarthShare of Texas, which supports more than 30 local environmental programs
- Reliant will purchase carbon offsets
- Reliant will use any remaining EcoShare proceeds to help Texas homeowners better afford solar panel installation
- You can choose your level of participation
- You can cancel at anytime
- You do not have to change your current plan
Who is EarthShare of Texas?
EarthShare of Texas provides funding to more than 30 environmental and conservation-focused charities active in Texas, such as the Children’s Environmental Health Institute, Clean Water Fund of Texas and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation. When you donate to EarthShare of Texas, your funds are allocated to a wide array of environmental causes, all of which are vetted according to strict eligibility criteria. EarthShare of Texas reviews all member charities annually to ensure they continue to operate ethically and responsibly.
Focused on helping people contribute to the environmental health and restoration of local regions, EarthShare of Texas works with employers to facilitate voluntary giving through employee payroll contributions and has expanded to include programs like EcoShare, which allow people to contribute to EarthShare of Texas outside the workplace.
Thanks to very low overhead costs, more than 95% of all donations to EarthShare of Texas go directly to support environmental programs, and you can rest assured that those programs are doing some of the most outstanding work in the state.2 For Reliant EcoShare, Reliant pays EarthShare's administrative costs for EcoShare funds to ensure that 100% of your money goes to Texas environmental organizations. A full list of organizations supported by EarthShare of Texas donations can be found on the EarthShare of Texas website.
What is a carbon offset?
A carbon offset is the verified sequestration, avoidance of or reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases, made specifically for the purpose of compensating for an emission made elsewhere. Basically, carbon offsets are used to fund projects that work to avoid or reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon offsets give financing to renewable energy, forest protection projects, reforestation projects and energy innovation programs around the world that can verify how much financing is required to avoid the release or reduce specific amounts of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
One carbon offset is equal to the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. The carbon offsets Reliant purchases have been verified as real and measurable. Buying carbon offsets has the same effect on climate change as directly reducing the carbon emissions associated with your electricity supply, travel and other activities. Projects receiving money from carbon offsets must prove that the reduction in emissions could not have have occurred without the carbon offset funding, so carbon offsets truly do result in additional greenhouse gas reductions that would not have happened if you did not take action and donate.
What is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint measures the amount of CO2 emissions produced, directly or indirectly, by households, businesses or other activities. Direct emissions include those from travel and natural gas use; indirect emissions include those created by producing electricity, clothing, food and other goods and services used by the household or business. When you drive a gas-fueled car, use gas or electricity in your home or purchase items made in facilities that release carbon dioxide, you are adding to your carbon footprint.
By helping purchase carbon offsets, you are effectively helping to reduce carbon emissions overall. A portion of the money you provide through EcoShare is used to reduce emissions where such reductions would not have been possible without additional carbon offset funding.
Why is Reliant offering Reliant EcoShare?Reliant believes in offering customers a range of service options to fit their individual needs. Reliant EcoShare provides customers an option to support the environment for a fixed monthly price. A lot of our customers want to contribute to environmental causes on a regular basis, and we want to provide an easy way for them to do just that.
What if I am on a 100% Wind plan, a 100% Solar plan or a Secure Plan with 20% Wind? Can I participate in the Reliant EcoShare Program?You are still eligible to participate in the Reliant EcoShare Program. EcoShare is a flat amount added monthly to your bill, regardless of the plan you are on. Only customers on the SmartStart plan and customers outside the state of Texas cannot participate.
Are my Reliant EcoShare payments or EarthShare of Texas donations through Reliant EcoShare tax deductible?No, the donation is not tax deductible. If you have additional tax inquiries, please consult your tax adviser.
How can I see where my money is going? How can I track my carbon offset?You will receive communications on the EcoShare program as well as an annual program summary that includes how much carbon was offset on your behalf. The portion of your money that goes to EarthShare will be allocated to EarthShare member charities, which have all been vetted to ensure outstanding quality. A list of member charities can be found at the EarthShare of Texas website.
Can I cancel or change my Reliant EcoShare participation at any time?Yes, you can cancel your Reliant EcoShare participation at any time. You also have the flexibility to change contribution levels at any time. However, it can take up to two billing cycles for the change to be reflected on your monthly bill.
If I am enrolled on a 100% Wind plan, 100% Solar plan or a Secure Plan with 20% Wind, why would I want to participate in the Reliant EcoShare Program?Combining a 100% Wind plan or 100% Solar plan with Reliant EcoShare means you're doing even more for the planet than if you only had a renewable plan. With the 100% Wind plan or 100% Solar plan, you are supporting renewable energy, and you get to increase your support when you also sign up for EcoShare, which offsets a portion of your carbon footprint and contributes to environmental causes around Texas.
What is the difference between a carbon offset and a renewable energy credit/certificate?They are both tools that have been developed to help companies and individuals reduce their impact on the environment, particularly in terms of global climate change. They have different approaches. Renewable energy credits help support clean energy by providing an extra incentive for businesses to produce renewable energy. Carbon offsets focus on reducing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, by supporting a variety of projects that are certified to keep greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
What types of organizations does my EarthShare of Texas donation go to?EarthShare of Texas provides funding to more than 30 environmental organizations active in Texas, such as the Children’s Environmental Health Institute, Clean Water Fund of Texas and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation. Other organizations can be found on the EarthShare of Texas website.
How much of the donation to EarthShare of Texas reaches organizations?Reliant pays for the program’s administrative costs to ensure that 100% of the $1 or $2 donation, depending on your participation level, is distributed across the EarthShare of Texas member organizations to support environmental efforts in Texas.
How does Reliant select the types of carbon offsets to purchase and retire as part of the Reliant EcoShare Program?Reliant purchases and retires carbon offsets approved by respected certification agencies such as the Climate Action Reserve and the Voluntary Carbon Standard. All carbon offsets are from sources that meet four criteria:
- Measurable: The emissions reductions are quantified by scientifically sound best practices.
- Additional: Reductions would not happen under business as usual, that is, as a part of normal economic activity or if mandated by law or statute.
- Permanent: Reductions are not subject to loss over time or easily reversed.
- Real: The emission benefits have already occurred, not may occur in the future.
How much of my money goes toward solar panel installation rebates?
A portion of the monthly funds will be used to offer incentives to help Texas homeowners with solar panel installations. This amount may vary monthly based on the price of carbon offsets and the amounts set aside for contributions to EarthShare.