In September of 2007, then Governor Strickland was introducing a new energy bill for the state of Ohio, which contained a renewable energy focus. The Governor chose to visit Athens County and the home of Geoff and Michelle Greenfield to announce the bill. House Bill 221 initiated what was known as Ohio’s Advanced Portfolio Standard, and with it, the state joined many other states across the country in enacting some kind of standard for renewable and advanced energy production for the state’s mix of electricity sources.
“We were really honored that he chose to come to our house and highlight our home’s solar power,” says Geoff Greenfield, co-owner and President of Third Sun Solar. In 2007, the Greenfields had been living off the grid for 10 years, powering their home with solar and wind. They had also integrated many facets of efficiency into the home. Governor Strickland’s visit was a chance for them to highlight to other Ohioans that families can live comfortably using clean energy.
“When he got to our home, we had a crowd of Third Sun Solar team members, press, and a group of his staff from the statehouse,” recalls Michelle Greenfield. “He spent a lot of time looking at our system, the solar panels, the battery backup system and the electronics.” He also showed great interest in the home’s energy efficiency features like insulated window blinds, Energy Star appliances, and the energy-efficient lighting that was just starting to make it onto the mainstream market at that time.
Looking back, Strickland sought to highlight many of the things the Greenfields were doing that have become commonplace now, 13 years later. Solar on homes, net metering, energy-efficient light bulbs, insulating window treatments… these are all easily found in the marketplace and have gained increased usage today. Part of the reason that these are now common is that political leaders like Ted Strickland sought to highlight and advance those ideas, both with the goal of saving consumers money and helping the environment.
House Bill 221, which contained the energy plan, was passed in May of 2008. It enjoyed several years of success before the political winds shifted in Ohio and the clean energy provision was “frozen” by the legislature and the subsequent Governor in June 2014.
Despite this setback, the last 6 years have seen the cost of solar power plummet by more than 60%. Energy Star appliances are common, CFL and LED lighting are mainstream, and consumers are demanding more efficiency for their homes and in their day to day lives. A big shout out to Ted Strickland for having the foresight to be a promoter of clean energy and moving our state forward during his time in office.