Bi-Directional Metering in Ohio

All residential solar systems that maintain a connection with their utility company require a bi-directional meter. A bi-directional meter measures the flow of electricity in two directions. It measures how much energy you’ve consumed and how much solar energy you’ve fed back into the grid. Read more about net metering here. 

When do I turn my solar system on?

Before you begin the operation of your solar system, wait until your utility installs your bi-directional meter . This is to avoid any generation fees.

Why do I have to wait for the bi-directional meter to be installed?

Some standard meters may include a feature that prevent it from turning backwards and registering reverse power flow. In this case, even though your facility should reduce the amount of electricity the electricity your facility generates in relation to your current consumption would not be measured or subtracted from your overall electrical energy use.

Unfortunately, turning your solar energy system on before the bidirectional meter is installed can lead to extremely large utility bills. In the case that your solar system is on and the bidirectional meter is not yet installed, you could be charged for the energy your solar system produces. This is because your current meter understands all the energy you’ve created as energy used.

Third Sun Solar’s Role

Following installation and inspection of your system, Third Sun Solar will submit a request for bi-directional meter exchange.

Typically, the utility company will install the bidirectional meter anywhere from a week to a month post notification. Unfortunately, your solar company does not have control over when the utility will replace your meter. Additionally, your solar installer and you, the homeowner, are not always notified by the utility that the meter has been swapped! This can leave you waiting and checking your meter regularly, in anticipating of turning on your new solar array!

At Third Sun, we will be persistent in trying to make this happen! If it takes an unusually long time (over a month) we will file a case with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (or your state’s Public Utilities Commission) to have them intervene and help accelerate the process.

The Solar Homeowners Role

Be vigilant! Check on your meter! Because the utility company might not notify you or your installer about the meter swap, it’s possible that they install it while you aren’t looking. For the first month, go ahead and check on your meter every once in awhile to see if it has been switched out.  This is what you’re looking for:

Fine Print Information about Net-Metering and Meter Exchanges

Be aware, as a net-metering customer, you are required to report yearly excess generation credits that total $600 or more to the IRS as miscellaneous income and your utility is required to report this information to you and to the IRS.

Please note that you are responsible for operating the facility safely, in accordance with the terms of the Application/Agreement and the manufacturer’s instructions. You also are to perform regular maintenance and inspections in accordance with accepted practices and the manufacturer’s instructions.

Useful Links:

 

The Summer Solstice & Why We Celebrate  

The Summer Solstice marks the first day of summer. This is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.  

Ever wondered why the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter? Or why we have seasons at all? We experience seasons because of the tilt of the earth as it circles the sun. The tilt also accounts for the change in sun hours throughout the year. As the earth tilts slightly towards the sun, our days get longer. Our peak tilt towards the sun in 2019 is June 21st! 

How much energy does the sun produce?  

At any moment, 173,000 terawatts (trillions of watts) of solar energy strikes the Earth. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use. This summer solstice we’ll experience 15 hours of exposure to powerful & bountiful sun energy.

Why do we celebrate?  

The Summer Solstice means that we are in peak summer production months for solar. This means that solar panels in the northern hemisphere have even more energy to soak up through the day. 

Why celebrate in 2019?  

In 2019 we‘re celebrating because there is more solar PV capacity worldwide than ever! This summer solstice the world has more solar infrastructure to soak up sunlight for use as energy than ever before!  

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), as of 2019, the United States has 2 million solar installations- on homes, business, industrial buildings, and utility-scale solar installations. The energy generated by these solar systems combined would produce enough to power more than 12 million American homes. That is now greater than 70 gigawatts.  

This reflects major growth in the solar sector in the U.S., which just 3 years ago reached 1 million solar installations. Additionally, the cumulative operating solar PV capacity is about 75 times more than what was installed at the end of 2008 (SEIA).  

What has caused this growth 

The growth in the solar industry in recent years is a result of cumulative efforts by policymakers, solar customers, advocates, and business. The progress shows us the potential solar has to be a clean energy solution. Fueled by the incentive to create a better future for the planet, create jobs, reduce reliance on energy sources with harmful emissions and lower electric bills, we plan to see future growth in the solar market. 

What next? 

The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that by 2024 2.5% of all US homes will have a home solar energy system installed. And we believe it. We are seeing solar become more and more mainstream. Between the federal Investment Tax Credit dropping to 26% at the end of 2019 (before it’s eventual drop to 0% in 2022) and the commercial tax credit eventually dropping to 10% for commercial projects, there are certainly incentives to go solar now. 

To request a free solar evaluation, click here or give us a call during office hours: 877-GO-SOLAR  

Net Metering for Solar in Ohio  

In sunny peak months in Ohio, solar systems often produce more energy than a home can consume. Have you ever wondered what happens to this excess electricity? Or how you, the homeowner, benefit from the extra energy your solar energy system produces? Net Metering is the process that accounts for this difference in production & use. 

Net metering allows you to store energy you produce in the electric grid, in the form of credits. When you produce more energy than you need, excess electricity travels back into the power grid. Energy sent back into the grid goes to power your neighbors’ homes. The State of Ohio requires that the utility company credit you for that energy you produced and send along. These credits appear on your monthly electric bill to help you keep track.  

During sunny summer months, when your solar system is producing more than the energy you are using, you bank up credits. During the winter months, your home uses more energy than your solar system produces, and you use up the credits you’ve earned.  

You will be charged for the energy you take use from the traditional electric grid (when your solar panels aren’t producing). You can pay for that extra energy using the credits you accrue during times your solar system is producing more energy than you are using.  

Why is net metering important?

Net metering increases the economic benefit of solar power by crediting you for the power your solar energy system produces.  The amount of energy you produce and use will vary over the course of the year. Net metering helps you account for this difference by crediting you for the excess electricity your panels produce so you can use it later. 

Your utility benefits from net metering because electricity is generated so close to where it is consumed. This diminishes the amount of electricity lost when power is transmitted across miles of wires. Additionally, it helps reduce strain on the grid during peak demand times: like on hot, sunny days.

Will I receive payment for the excess energy I produce?  

You’ll get credits to be used on an annual basis to offset the cost of electricity that you take from the grid during times when your solar system is not producing energy. These credits roll over from month to month. You will not, however, receive a check from your utility for the excess energy you put back into the grid. 

At what rate do utility companies credit me for my usage?

Electric companies credit you at a net excess generation rate. The State of Ohio’s net metering policy does not require utilities to credit energy you produce at the full retail rate.  

This rate depends on your electric company. Your experienced Solar Consultant can help you understand what your utility’s net excess generation rate is.

Can my energy bill be $0?

In many cases, yes!   

Some utility companies have a single fixed cost, or customer charge, that all customers are required to pay each month. However, in many cases you can use credits to pay down the fixed monthly costs.  We often see $0 electric bills sent to us by our customers!  

How much energy from my electric company will I purchase annually, when I have a solar system?

We don’t design all solar systems to meet 100% of a homes electric usage over the course of the year. Why? This depends on many factors, but primarily the amount of space a home has for solar panels. Your solar consultant will work with you to design a solar system that makes sense for your homes annual electricity usage.  

 

Third Sun Solar has worked with hundreds of homeowners across the state of Ohio and beyond. We have close working relationships with all of Ohio’s many rural cooperatives and public utilities.

If you have any questions about solar or net metering, please reach out.

 

 

 

House Bill 6: Ohio Businesses Call on Governor and Lt. Governor to embrace clean energy policies

June 4, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ohio Businesses Call on Governor and Lt. Governor to embrace clean
energy policies: HB 6 Provisions Repealing Renewable and Energy
Efficiency Standards would be “huge step backward”

COLUMBUS, Ohio – More than 60 businesses and organizations have issued an open letter to Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today calling on them to support the state’s
future and ability to attract long-term investments, innovative companies, and ultimately thousands more jobs to our state by supporting the clean energy standards that would be repealed
by House Bill 6.

Dear Gov. DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted,

Thank you for your leadership of our great state. We are thrilled to see that you are pursuing bold policies and transforming our state into a 21st century economy. Since taking office in January, you have already inspired confidence in Ohio’s business and investment climate. We write this open letter to you today to proactively urge your support for a key sector of Ohio’s economy that holds great promise for growth: clean energy. As companies and organizations with a keen interest in the state’s energy future, we support policies that will make our energy clean, affordable, reliable, and predictable over the long-term. This is a major consideration for where we do business. Unfortunately, the Ohio General Assembly appears to be rapidly advancing energy legislation (HB 6) that falls far short of these goals. While creating a fund to support Ohio’s two nuclear plants and granting cost recovery for old coal plants, the bill repeals Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (“EERS”). This would be a huge step backward. Eliminating these standards will create tremendous uncertainty for the Ohio renewables industry, which directly employs almost 10,000 Ohioans, and back-pedal on our ability to reduce energy waste through cost-effective energy savings programs that employ over 81,000 Ohioans and have saved Ohioans $5.1 billion to date. The bill also misses an opportunity to address Ohio’s restrictive wind power siting regulations which have stymied in-state development for years, and in fact makes the permitting process more challenging. Clean energy standards help businesses cut energy costs, avoid the volatility of fuel prices, and help us stay competitive. As of 2018, 39 companies in Ohio have committed to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy(http://there100.org/companies) and almost half of Ohio’s 50 largest employers have set targets to procure more renewable energy or invest in energy efficiency. States with robust clean energy standards create policy certainty, attracting companies and enabling them to make long-term investments consistent with meeting sustainability and financial goals. We recognize the significant economic opportunity presented by renewable energy and energy efficiency. As such, we write collectively to urge you to protect Ohio’s growing clean energy economy and oppose the provisions of HB 6 which would eliminate Ohio’s clean energy standards and harm Ohio’s ability to bring more clean energy projects online.

 

Thank you for your consideration and your continued leadership of our State.

 

The letter was signed by the following 63 companies and organizations, demonstrating depth and
breadth of support for renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in state law:
Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. ElectraTherm Siemens Gamesa
Ameresco Energility, LLC Simple Energy
AP Alternatives Energy Management Solutions, Inc. Sol Systems
Apex Clean Energy Energy Optimizers, USA Solar Action LLC
Avangrid Renewables Enervee Solar Power & Light
AviSun Renewable Energy First Solar Solscient Energy
Baker- Shindler Company Friends Fiduciary Stoneacre Energy Solutions
Better Together Solar Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. Sun Lion Energy
Burton Innogy SunLit Solar
Carbon Solutions Group IntegralPower Talan Products, Inc.
Catalyst Café Invenergy, LLC TEfusion Group
Central Insurance Companies Ironclad Energy Third Sun Solar
Cleveland Clinic LaFargeHolcim TMI Energy Solutions
Clif Bar & Company Melink Corporation Trillium Asset Management
Community Energy Inc. Miller Brothers Construction Unitarian Universalist Association
CS Energy Ohio Power Solutions Village Bakery
Cypress Creek Renewables Open Road Renewables Vistula Management Company
DG Edison Ormat Technologies Yellowlite
E.ON Profit & Sons Farms, Inc.
Echogen Power Systems RBI Solar
Ecohouse Solar Roanna Farms, Inc.
EDF Renewables Rudolph Libbe Group
EDP Renewables North America

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Media contact: Angela Krile, 740-974-3948, angela@krilecommunications.com

 

A Women-Led Solar Business  

For the past 20 years, Third Sun Solar founder and CEO Michelle Greenfield has contributed tirelessly to the advancement of solar. These contributions include the increased participation & contributions of women in the solar field.  Her leadership can be seen in many areas, as a contractor, policy advocate and educator. Over the years, Michelle’s leadership has had a ripple effect. Her work has opened doors and driven female participation across the industry.   

Michelle is a woman on a mission, working to Accelerate the Shift to Clean Energy. 

Founding Third Sun Solar  

In 2000 Michelle and Geoff Greenfield built their own sustainable home on a piece of rural Ohio land. This land did not have access to utility power. Instead of making an investment to bring the utility out, they chose to generate their own power: solar power.  

In the early 2000’s there was not a solar installer in their area. Geoff decided to move forward and become a solar expert himself. He designed and installed his first high performance solar array on their home.  

The Greenfields founded Third Sun Solar that same year, in 2000, out of their attic. Today, 19 years later, Michelle is the CEO of Third Sun Solar. Along the way, Michelle has had the opportunity to direct the growth of a blossoming economic sector in Appalachia Ohio, all while influencing the green energy movement in the state of Ohio & beyond.  

Women in Solar at Third Sun Solar  

Third Sun Solar has hired women into many roles over the years. Michelle’s current staff housed at the Third Sun Solar headquarters is half female employees.  She has hired women into Third Sun for various roles, and is a decisive advocate for inclusion, ongoing recruitment and creating opportunities for female candidates in hands on laborsales & administrative roles.  It is impossible to tally the influence she has had over the past 20 years. But, it’s certain Michelle’s leadership has led to many women entering the solar and other technical fields.   

 

Accomplishments over the Years  

  • Michelle has had dozens of speaking engagements over the last 20 years to many groups such as the Sierra Club, the University System of Ohio Sustainability conference, Ohio University’s Environmental Education program, Rotary Clubs, Earth Day events and most recently, the Rural Action annual member meeting.  
  • Michelle Served as a Board Member of Green Energy Ohio for 10 years and President of the Board for 2 years.  
  • Michelle received a 2009 “Keys to Success Award” from the Ohio Department of Development.  
  • In 2012, Michelle spearheaded the effort for Third Sun Solar to become a Benefit Corporation (B Corp). This process emphasizes and holds her company accountable to a triple bottom line approach. Third Sun gives equal footing to planet and people, as well as profit. At that time, Third Sun was only one of 3 B Corps in the State of Ohio. 
  • In 2013 Michelle was an Innovation Award Winner from TechGrowth Ohio for “Outstanding Woman in Innovation”, a recognition of her accomplishments in promoting the growing clean tech sector in the state & of her continued advocacy for inclusion of and leadership by women in the field.  

 

The Clean Energy Credit Union  

In 2014, Michelle joined the Organizing Committee for the founding of the Amicus Solar Cooperative’s initiative to start a Clean Energy Credit Union. It might not be a coincidence that Michelle once started and managed a community development credit union in southeast Ohio. This experience combined with her solar experience was key to navigating the founding of this institution.  

After nearly 4 years organizing, the Clean Energy Credit Union was federally chartered in September 2017. At that point, she became a Member of the Board of Directors and serves on the Credit Committee.  

In its first full year of operations and lending, they have:

  • Over 700 members
  • $6.5 million in assets
  • Granted nearly 400 loans for PV systems for electric vehicles & green home improvements
  • Over 50% of loans granted have been for solar energy systems
  • Granted loans totaling more than $6.4 million 

The Himalayan Light Fund  

In 2018 Michelle had the opportunity to spread her leadership and impact beyond the US. As part of a team with the wellregarded non-profit Himalayan Light Fund, Michelle planned, raised money for and installed a solar power system at a school in a remote village in Nepal. This village is far from the tourist centers or the utility grid. Her leadership and technical skill on the roof undoubtedly planted seeds of opportunity in the onlooking community 

Michelle Greenfield is a tireless advocate for Solar in Ohio, a large emerging market with huge potential for growth.  She has progressed from being an early consumer of solar energy to a business pioneer – advocating and educating about both solar power as well as leadership roles for women in the solar industry.  

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