3 Solar Power Predictions for 2016

Welcome 2016

Quite a lot happened in 2015 that will bring improvements to our homes and environment. Now that 2016 is here, we wanted to make some solar power predictions around what we think is in store for the Midwest.

1 – More homeowners will go solar. The renewal of the ITC will allow solar installations in the Midwest to catch up to what has been going on in the coastal states. More and more homeowners will turn to solar this year as they watch their electricity bills increase due to rising costs of fossil fuels and rate hikes approved by PUCO.

2 – Storage is going to be talked about more than installed this year. We don’t think 2016 is the year for energy storage, although it will start creeping more and more into the media. We’ve already seen the excitement building around energy storage prototypes, but in the Midwest, we think it will be a few years away until energy storage provides financial benefits.

3 – Solar installation prices will continue to drop, although only slightly. PV modules have already seen significant price cuts over the last few years, so any future drops in price are more likely to come from installation innovations. These types of efficiency changes are only likely to result in small cost cuts and not on the scale as has been witnessed one the last few years.

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Opt OUT of Black Friday and Opt IN to Green Friday

OptOutside

Around the office, we’re getting a little worn out from all the hype and consumerism of Black Friday. So this year we’ve decided to opt out of Black Friday and Opt IN to Green Friday. You might be wondering what we mean by that. Well, being a solar company, we tend to be green-minded. We spend a lot of time thinking up ways to do good for our communities and environment, and the more we thought about Black Friday, the more it didn’t sit well with us. So we’re reimaging what it could be.

Green Friday for the team at Third Sun is going to be spent reconnecting, recharging, and relaxing this year, and here’s how we plan to do it:

  • Relaxing with our loved ones both near and far
  • Playing flag football
  • Hiking at local parks
  • Mountain Biking
  • Skateboarding
  • Decorating for Christmas
  • Renovating our homes

A couple more ideas for opting into Green Friday would be to volunteer your time with a nonprofit, clear out your closets and donate items to charity, or sleep in and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper. Opt IN to Green Friday with us and share your plans to do it in the comments below, Twitter, or Facebook.

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Local Solar Business Leaders and Veterans Call on Sen. Portman to Grow Ohio’s Clean Energy Economy & Support the Clean Power Plan

 

 

Support the Clean Power Plan

Columbus, OH – On Tuesday, September 22, solar business leaders Geoff Greenfield and Mathew O’Brien of Third Sun Solar, solar homeowner Dr. Matthew Taylor and veteran Allen Zak urged Senator Portman to start voting to support the Clean Power Plan because of what it means for the booming clean energy economy and national security.

The Clean Power Plan was finalized on August 3, and puts in place the nation’s first ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants while providing incentives for investments in wind, solar and other sources of clean energy.

“Make no mistake, climate disruption is a national security matter and poses grave threats to the economic stability of all American families,” said veteran Allen Zak. “That’s why it’s time for all of Ohio’s representatives in Congress to tackle the climate crisis and support the Clean Power Plan.”

Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States– responsible for 40 percent of the dangerous pollutant being pumped into our air. Carbon pollution fuels climate change, which the Department of Defense last year declared to be a “strategic threat” with major security implications for the United States.

Despite the fact that a majority of Ohioans support the Clean Power Plan, U.S. Senator Portman has voted against a burgeoning Ohio clean energy economy and clean air in Congress multiple times. That includes by introducing an amendment that would enable states to scrap the protections of the Clean Power Plan.

Congress has a key role to play in providing funding for all Environmental Protection Agency programs, and Senator Portman can show his support for the Clean Power Plan in the future by ensuring that the resources necessary for this program are secured in full.

“Taking action on climate provides Ohioans opportunities to use cleaner energy, grow our economy and protect the health of our families,” said Geoff Greenfield, President of Third Sun Solar. “We urge Senator Portman to start voting in support of the Clean Power Plan.”

Also See:

Department of Defense sees Climate Change as strategic threat: http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/612710

Majority of Americans support the Clean Power Plan: http://aufc.3cdn.net/9cce54755ec7d79594_tvm6ib002.pdf

 

 

 

 

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Serving His Country and the Environment

Extending Our Gratitude

mat

This is US Army Reserve Drill Sergeant, Mat O’Brien.

When he is not serving his country in uniform, he is serving the environment by ensuring solar installations go smoothly and safely as Third Sun Solar’s Material Handling Specialist.

Mat’s presence is sorely missed while he fulfills a month-long assignment as the Drill Sergeant with the 1st platoon Echo Company 3rd Battalion 60th infantry regiment at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, but we are very proud of him for his service to our country and extend our congratulations and gratitude to him and his platoon who will graduate on September 25th.

 

Mat in his other role as Dad. Apparently, a baby that cute can melt even the toughest of Drill Sergeants

 

Thank you for your service, Mat, and thank you to all of the other men and women out there- and their families- who make many sacrifices to serve our country.

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Another Ohio Home Goes Solar

Athens’ Air Gets a Little Cleaner

This beautiful 7.92kW system recently went live in Athens, Ohio.

In addition to hedging against future rate increases and lowering the homeowners’ utility bills, these 33 panels will offset approximately 15,944 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over the next 25 years.

digAthens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that is what we call a good neighbor.

Contact us today by filling out an inquiry form on our homepage, or call 877-OWN-SOLAR to see what solar can do for your home and your neighbors’ health.

 

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Third Sun Solar Makes National Top-400 List

Athens, Ohio Solar Installer Listed Among Top National Firms

ATHENS, OHIO—Solar Power World magazine released their national 2014 Top 400 Solar Contractors list last week, noting the best-ranked solar electric system installers from across North America. Third Sun Solar ranked #135 of 400 nationally.

The 2014 Top Solar Contractors list includes many companies from high-growth solar states like California, Colorado, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Third Sun Solar was the highest-ranked of the five Ohio firms that made the list.

“Only a tiny fraction of the nation’s companies have demonstrated such remarkably consistent excellence, particularly in the difficult economic environment of the past few years,” noted Editorial Director Frank Andorka of Solar Power World. “This achievement puts [Third Sun Solar] in rarefied company.”

Watch the Video

Once again ranked among the best

Once again ranked among the best

 

To promote this year’s list, Solar Power World also produced a video featuring three regional solar companies, one of which was Third Sun Solar. In the video, three of Solar Power World’s 2014 Top Solar Contractors discuss their jobs, the industry and the future. The video is available here and also on YouTube (search Solar Power World on YouTube to find “A Time To Shine: 2014 Top Solar Contractors Discuss The Industry”).

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Solar Champion Referral Discount & Fee DOUBLED Through September 23, 2014

Special Offer for Solar Champions: Double Down for Solar!

The summer months are a peak time for solar production, and should also be a great time for sharing the good news about solar with your friends and neighbors. September 23rd is the Autumnal Equinox, the traditional time to celebrate the harvest and nature’s bounty. To recognize this time of year, we are doubling both our reward for Solar Champions and the discount for the folks you introduce us to that decide to go solar. Now through September 23, you can double the discount and double your reward for helping us grow solar!

At Third Sun Solar, our mission is to Accelerate the Shift to Clean Energy.  Many of you, our solar customers, share that mission and have made the decision to act on it through the use of clean, efficient solar power.  Our Solar Champion program gives you the opportunity to increase your impact by promoting solar and sharing what you have found with your friends, neighbors and family.

Our Solar Champion program rewards this good deed in two ways – with a Visa gift card (or charity donation) for you and a discount for your friend.  For a LIMITED TIME ONLY, we are doubling our offer!  Now is a great time to go solar, and more than ever, our country and planet need folks to make the switch.

From now through the Autumnal Equinox (September 23rd) your solar referral is worth $500 for you and a $500 discount for your friend, neighbor, co worker, family member… even a stranger you met at the coffee shop.

Remember:

  • Referrals must be registered at www.ThirdSunSolar.com and must not already be registered to be eligible. Click the solar Champion Badge on our website or call our office to register a referral.
  • This special “double” offer only applies to new referrals made after August 8th 2014  and for customers that sign a contingent contract before September 23rd.
  • Referral rewards will be paid upon customer payment of the final invoice, after completion of the installation.
  • There are no limits to the rewards you can earn, but expansion projects are only eligible if we were NOT the original installer.
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Third Sun Solar in Amicus Solar Purchasing Cooperative

amicus_logo

Amicus Solar Cooperative was founded in the fall of 2011. A small group of friendly solar installation companies decided it was time to form a national organization where independent businesses could support each other by sharing best practices and pooling their buying power. Amicus is a purchasing cooperative that is jointly owned and democratically managed by our member companies. We are 31 members, with 43 office locations in 22 states. Member companies are passing their enhanced purchasing power along to customers by offering best solar pricing on high-quality solar electric system installations. Third Sun Solar is a founding member.

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Local Farm Uses Sun for Power

Mount Vernon News, Saturday August 2, 2014–by Henri Gendreau

HOWARD OH–The sun is shining on GrassyDell Farms.

On top of two large milking barns on Schenck Creek Road  near Howard sit 130 solar panels.

“I think they look pretty good on the building myself,” said Dale Grassbaugh, of GrassyDell.

“I just think it’s something we need to do more of,” said Grassbaugh, who was partly inspired to install the panels by his son Doug, who put in solar panels on his property last year.

The panels on Grassbaugh’s barns were installed in March by Third Sun Solar, an Ohio-based company that has installed about 400 systems since its founding in 1997, said communications director Gerald Kelly.

“An interesting thing about farmers as business people, they tend to be long-term thinkers,” Kelly said. “Farmers don’t buy and ‘flip’ farms. They’re in it for the long haul.”

Kelly said that beside looking toward the future, farmers are used to making large purchases for equipment and dealing with market volatility. Those two mindsets come into play when factoring in the initial cost to install a solar electric system and dealing with fluctuations in energy costs.

Grassbaugh said his system is currently providing about two-thirds of his electricity and Kelly said the system would pay for itself in four to seven years. [Solar panels are warranted for 25 years and continue to produce significant amounts of power well beyond that.]

“It used to be ten years ago that people who put in solar were not allowed to connect to the utility grid,” Kelly said. Now, however, those who produce electricity from solar panels are able to sell extra energy produced back to utility companies. They also qualify for federal tax credits [due to expire in 2016].

A meter on GrassyDell Farms shows how much electricity is being [made, used, and shared with the grid]. “Right now I’m buying electricity,” Grassbaugh said on a sunny Tuesday. “A minute ago I was giving it back” [as the meter dial spun backwards].

In June, the Obama administration announced plans to curb climate change by targeting coal-fired power plants, which could increase electricity costs.

“As time goes one, they’re going to get tougher on pollution,” Grassbaugh said. The prospect of increased electricity costs can make solar energy a wise investment.

Grassbaugh stressed that the cost-effectiveness and energy savings depend a lot on the kind and size of system installed.

“Everybody has to look into it,” he said. “It’s just like everything else, like buying anything — you have to decide for yourself.”

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Lennon + McCartney + Solar + B Corporations

Here is an Op-Ed by David Brooks, a conservative columnist for The New York Times. In it, he comments upon The Beatles, creativity, and B Corporations (like Third Sun Solar) — how the confluence of creativity, capitalism and the desire to “do well by doing good” leads to a potent, positive force in American business culture. [Our emphasis added in bold.]

Two minds finding one song

Two minds finding one song

In the current issue of The Atlantic, Joshua Wolf Shenk has a fascinating description of how Paul McCartney and John Lennon created music together. McCartney was meticulous while Lennon was chaotic. McCartney emerged out of a sunny pop tradition. Lennon emerged out of an angst-ridden rebel tradition.

Lennon wrote the song “Help” while in the throes of depression. The song originally had a slow, moaning sound. McCartney suggested a lighthearted counter melody that, as Shenk writes, fundamentally changed and improved the nature of the piece.

Lennon and McCartney came from different traditions, but they had similar tastes. They brought different tendencies to the creative process but usually agreed when the mixture was right. This created the special tension in their relationship. They had a tendency to rip at each other, but each knew ultimately that he needed the other. Even just before his death, Lennon was apparently thinking of teaming up with McCartney once again.

Shenk uses the story to illustrate the myth of the lone genius, to show that many acts of genius are the products of teams or pairs, engaged in collaboration and “co-opetition.” And we have all known fertile opposites who completed each other — when they weren’t trying to destroy each other.

But the Lennon-McCartney story also illustrates the key feature of creativity; it is the joining of the unlike to create harmony. Creativity rarely flows out of an act of complete originality. It is rarely a virgin birth. It is usually the clash of two value systems or traditions, which, in collision, create a transcendent third thing.

Shakespeare combined the Greek honor code (thou shalt avenge the murder of thy father) with the Christian mercy code (thou shalt not kill) to create the torn figure of Hamlet. Picasso combined the traditions of European art with the traditions of African masks. Saul Bellow combined the strictness of the Jewish conscience with the free-floating go-getter-ness of the American drive for success.

Sometimes creativity happens in pairs, duos like Lennon and McCartney who bring clashing worldviews but similar tastes. But sometimes it happens in one person, in someone who contains contradictions and who works furiously to resolve the tensions within.

When you see creative people like that, you see that they don’t flee from the contradictions; they embrace dialectics and dualism. They cultivate what Roger Martin called the opposable mind — the ability to hold two opposing ideas at the same time.

If they are religious, they seek to live among the secular. If they are intellectual, they go off into the hurly-burly of business and politics. Creative people often want to be strangers in a strange land. They want to live in dissimilar environments to maximize the creative tensions between different parts of themselves.

Today we live in a distinct sort of creative environment. People don’t so much live in the contradiction between competing worldviews. We live in a period of disillusion and distrust of institutions.

This has created two reactions. Some monads withdraw back into the purity of their own subcultures. But others push themselves into the rotting institutions they want to reinvent. If you are looking for people who are going to be creative in the current climate, I’d look for people who are disillusioned with politics even as they go into it; who are disenchanted with contemporary worship, even as they join the church; who are disgusted by finance even as they work in finance. These people believe in the goals of their systems but detest how they function. They contain the anxious contradictions between disillusionment and hope.

This creative process is furthest along, I’d say, in the world of B corporations. There are many people today who are disillusioned both with the world of traditional charity and traditional capitalism. Many charities have been warmheartedly but wastefully throwing money at problems, without good management or market discipline. Capitalists have been obsessed with the short-term maximization of shareholder return without much concern for long-term prosperity or other stakeholders.

BCORP

B corporations are a way to transcend the contradictions between the ineffective parts of the social sector and myopic capitalism. Kyle Westaway, a lawyer in this field and the author of the forthcoming “Profit & Purpose,” notes that benefit corporation legal structures have been established in 22 states over the last four years. The 300 or so companies that have registered in this way, like Patagonia [and] Method [and Third Sun Solar], can’t be sued if they fail to maximize profits in order to focus on other concerns. They are seeking to reinvent both capitalism and do-gooder-ism, and living in the contradiction between these traditions.

This suggests a final truth about creativity: that, in every dialectic, there is a search for creative synthesis. Or, as Albert Einstein put it, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.”

<End of Op-Ed>

That last statement from Albert Einstein is where solar comes in. We cannot solve the problem of reliance upon dirty fossil fuels by digging and burning more of them. We can solve the problem — gradually, one rooftop at a time — by taking it to a different level, by incorporating clean, renewable energy into the mix, and by slowly but definitively breaking our addiction to deadly fuel sources. We won’t solve the problem in my lifetime. But if we start now, we will solve it in our kids’ lifetime. Creatively, cooperatively, and by joining the unlike to create harmony.

You can read the full Op-Ed here.

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