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.  

More about Third Sun Solar

Solar Batteries Becoming Increasingly Common   

Here at Third Sun Solar we are finding that our residential customers are increasingly interested in purchasing battery storage with their solar energy system. Battery systems are valuable for many reasons. They provide peace of mind to individuals who experience frequent power outages. Especially in rural areas in Ohio, grid outages are common. Solar batteries help families regain control over their home lives by providing a source of power that doesn’t rely on the energy company.   

Is Your Grid Reliable?   

Some people don’t know that The National Electric Code mandates grid tied solar systems shut off during a power outage. Why? During a power outage, the power utility sends out repair crews to find and fix the points of failure. Power leaking onto the grid lines endangers linemen and women fixing the service issue. Therefore, utility rules mandate that in the event of a power outage, solar arrays must automatically shut down. Solar systems have detectors that sense whether power is coming across the grid. Solar systems automatically shut down when the grid fails. This is a done to protect utility workers.  

Because batteries store excess solar energy, they still function during a power outage.  

What are battery backup systems?   

Battery backup systems are a lot like they sound.  Batteries are used as an emergency power source during power outages.  Solar energy created from you array charges the batteries, then the batteries power your home.  These systems are generally not designed to backup whole house loads, but rather critical loads such as lighting, sump pumps, furnace blowers, refrigeration, etc.  Third Sun Solar installs battery backup solutions to for homeowners who request backup batteries in addition to a solar PV system.  

By design, solar battery systems provide backup power during grid failure. Solar batteries do not typically support nighttime loads.  

Maintenance   

Batteries are much like a car, if you park in the garage and never pay attention to it, it will not work when you need it.  Depending on the type of battery technology you choose, there may be some battery maintenance such as topping off fluid levels and equalizing the batteries (lead-acid batteries).  Other types of batteries, like lithium-ion batteries, require much less maintenance. Batteries need to cycle, this means that the power levels need to reach a low point to get charged to full again. Additionally, battery charge levels need observation both during use and while not in use. 

They level of attention your solar batteries will need depends on your choice of technology. Compared to lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries are virtually trouble free, however the inverters and communications systems will need modified as time goes on and new features become available 

A solar battery customer will have a higher level of engagement with their batteries than your typical solar homeowner. Maybe you have a technical mindset & are interested in being involved with the solar battery system.  If you’re interested in a hands off system, a generator may be a better choice to achieve your backup power goal. 

Why now?   

We are in a new era of solar energy storage. Lithium ion batteries are a wonderful technology and new innovations like the Tesla Powerwall are making their way into the market. Don’t forget- the 30% federal tax credit drops after 2019– and solar battery purchases count in this tax credit. 

For customers who experience frequent grid outages and want to regain control of their energy, batteries are a great solution. Comfort comes from knowing that you’ll have the power you need even when the grid is down. With a battery system, energy is reliably ready for you at any moment.   

Click here to get your FREE solar proposal. 

 

Our Solar Professionals – Solar Consultant, Jamey Jones

My History…

I was blessed to have an amazing high school biology teacher, Mr. Barnhill.  Our first class project was an elaborate bug collection assigned over the summer. The project was due the very first day of sophomore year.  The pressure was on during the break to find, gather, pin, label and display each insect meticulously.  Fortunately, most of my discoveries were during a 14 day fishing trip with my father in Wilberforce Canada. These trips provided ample opportunity to scour the woods for all kinds of interesting and colorful insect species.  Once school was in session I was exposed to two boa constrictors, eight feet in length (Bonnie and Clyde). They became my reptile friends.

Mr. Barnhill would walk our class out to a nearby wooded lot behind our school where we studied ecosystems in nature rather than in the classroom; staking off 2’ x 2’ sections of the woodland understory, charting the variations and comparing the similarities of each plot.  I grew up playing outside in the summer until the streetlights came on, and in ravines with my cousin in Bloomington, Indiana searching for geodes, but my high school science class solidified my relationship with the natural world.

My Solar Journey…

I love EARTH. Green, deciduous forest, cave, flora and fauna, waterfall, pond, bug and animal earth.  This is home.  The place all living things share & the gift I feel compelled by a force beyond myself to protect. When Third Sun Solar advertised for an office administrator positions 11 years ago, I jumped at the chance to apply. I knew the founders, Michelle and Geoff Greenfield & admired that they walked their talk living an off-grid life style.

I saw this a an opportunity to create a career that aligned with my personal values.  At the time I knew nothing about solar except that solar was green and cool. But, I liked the way solar panels looked.

Once hired, I began a learning journey that stretched my understanding of renewables beyond measure…

My very first day, I assisted our Compliance and Accounting Manager by maintaining a growing list of interested residential and commercial customers seeking to leverage a grant through the Advanced Energy Fund.  The grant was in its second round, and we were compiling a list of names while waiting for the Notification of Funding Announcement to proceed forward.  Between the grant and 30% federal tax credit incentive, the gross cost of solar was reduced by a nominal 35%.  At that time in 2008, a typical residential solar installation was around $7/watt before both incentives, designing around SunPower 225watt panels.  The grant expired in 2010, and the climate for solar changed as the industry weathered shifts in our State’s administration and focus, which also impacted another incentive, SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) due to a 2014-2016 Senate Bill freeze.

We persisted through what we call the “solar coaster”, as panel prices continued to lower in lieu of fleeting incentive…

Though daunting, we adapted to the twists and turns. We accommodated the new landscape and political climate and continued to serve our customers.

What started off as an office administration position in 2008 transformed into a position as Residential Solar Consultant in 2010 to present.  I personally have had the great pleasure to serve 221 customer installations, while continuing to assist potential customers daily in their decision to go solar by answering questions on how solar works; modeling preliminary design concepts; discussing equipment offerings; incentives (past and present); financing options and sometimes engaging in conversations on stewardship when the opportunity presents itself.  I can say with all honesty that I wake up every day feeling proud of what I do, knowing that my job is positively contributing to our global climate future.

Whatever your stance is on the topic of climate change, it is safe to say that we are approaching a new era full of unknown shifts in our global landscape.  Nothing is certain, but I hope that we all continue to learn, plan, protect and adapt.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” – Chief Seattle.

 

 

How to Choose the Right Solar Installer for your Home 

Aesthetic and Quality Risks:  Choosing a Solar Installer for your Home 

Remember the old adage “you get what you pay for”?  This is especially important when making an investment in solar, a project that should add value to your home. If installed improperly, however, a solar array will have the opposite effect!  At Third Sun Solar, our 19 years of experience across Ohio has taught us how to do it right. Your choice of a solar company is the most important decision you will have as you go solar: choose wisely.

Read below for a description of the solar installation process & the issues we have seen from less experienced installers. You should choose a quality solar installer to ensure your home receives solar energy for years to come!

The Process 

You likely consider your home one of your most valuable assets. Because of this, choosing the right installation partner is critically important. Listed below are the two important phases of the solar panel installation process, which you should focus on.

  1. Solar Racking Installation– A typical roof installation involves drilling and properly waterproofing 40-60 holes through the roof. The holes are for the attachment of the array and the design, materials and techniques must withstand extreme weather, summer and winter for decades.
  2. Electrical Wiring– From each panel, down through the house to the inverter, and then to the interconnection to your homes electrical system, there is a lot of electrical work that goes into a solar installation. Solar installations must be done by a licensed electrical contractor in the State of Ohio. This licence ensures the contractor is trained and experienced to perform solar installation safely and with methods that will hold over time.

The Risks

We are sad to say that we see installation practices from other solar installation companies that are at best unsightly, often prone to early failure and at worst unsafe.

The solar company you select determines who the actual technicians are that are in your home doing the work.  While many companies employ subcontractors, temporary labor or poorly compensated untrained employees, Third Sun Solar is proud to only use our fully trained, well compensated loyal and dedicated direct employees on our residential projects.  We offer full benefits, paid holidays and vacation, and ongoing training to our employees. To us it’s a no brainer, it’s just who we are. It’s important for us to employ people invested in our company, who take pride in the work they do & are skilled at it. It makes for a happy workplace and happy customers.

Not all solar installation companies hire and retain a qualified, skilled and dedicated installation team. Many have no safety program and work without OSHA approved methods, placing you at risk of a terrible tragedy on your property. Many use untrained and under-compensated installers that are rushing through important steps, cutting corners to get to the next job.  Some installers work their crews far into overtime, carrying panels up ladders and working on a hot roof for 7 days at 10 hours per day.

It’s important to ask yourself: what type of installer would you want working on your home, ensuring your solar investment is done in a way that ensures high performance, safety and durability for years to come?

 

Solar Racking Installation 

This meticulous job must be done by trained, caring professionals if it is to look right, hold up over time, and not cause damage to your home. Panels can fall off the roof or leakage can occur if this work is done incorrectly. A leaky roof can cause many different issues such as structural damage, mold and rotting.

If done correctly by trained professionals this important step will be secure and not leak. At Third Sun we secure the array with a special system that protects your home with three layers of technology. We install stainless steel bolts with rubber gaskets, a durable top quality aluminum flashing that is layered into the shingles above, below and on either side of the penetration, and as a final extra layer of protection we seal up the holes with top quality roof sealant.

Electrical Wiring

As the process moves from panel racking to electrical wiring, the stakes get even higher. Today’s high-performance solar electronics must be installed properly if they are to last decades (and not void the manufacturer warranty).  As with any electrical work on your home, improper design or installation can lead to fire, electrical shock and homeowner liability.  As we mentioned earlier – this work must be done by a fully trained, licensed electrician.  Unfortunately, many solar installation companies are breaking Ohio law and cutting corners, operating without a license.  Third Sun Solar is licensed by the State of Ohio. Check here to make sure that the solar installation company you choose is a licensed electrical contractor.

Plastic PVC Conduit – Risks

Often, Third Sun Solar is called to repair the work done by our competitors.  We see all sorts of poor work out there, and one of the biggest culprits is the result of cutting corners to reduce costs.  Many companies use plastic conduit (PVC) or flex pipe because their technicians don’t have the skills or tools to bend conduit, and to save money on materials. Unfortunately, this plastic degrades under the sun’s UV rays, turning brittle and cracking in as little as 5 years!  In addition to creating a safety hazard, this shortcut means expensive and bothersome repairs that need made over the lifetime of your solar system.

Over our many years of work in solar, we have learned a lot about what holds up over time and what is likely to fail.  At Third Sun Solar we use metal conduit on all of our solar installations. Metal conduit costs a bit more and requires skills and proper training to bend and install. Though the initial investment in metal conduit might be slightly more expensive up front, it will certainly hold up better over time, saving in the long run.

Conduit Aesthetics

Aside from the safety and performance complications of conduit, your conduit choice also impacts the aesthetics of your array.  The solar array on your home should be gorgeous, not just to ensure your home increases in value. Our goal is to impress your neighbors and friends. We will make them believe that a home solar array would look great on their roof too!

On the majority of our projects we find a way to run the wiring inside your home.  If that is impossible, we will run metal conduit in a hidden location, such as adjacent to a rain downspout.  Many of our clients request that we paint this conduit if it is exterior.  We almost always run conduit inside the attic, but in some cases must run on the roof top.  We are sure you would agree that metal conduit on your roof looks a lot better than plastic PVC!

Can you see the exposed conduit?

Third Sun Solar is an electrical contractor licensed by the State of Ohio. Check here to make sure that the solar installation company you choose is a licensed electrical contractor.  

 

In Conclusion… 

Here at Third Sun, our advice is to do it right the first time. As you make the important selection of what solar installer to trust your home to, ask to see photos of their installations. Better yet? Go look at their work up close.  Go speak with their customers, both recent and those that have had an array for 10 years or more.  Ask: how the array has performed? How was the installation experience ? Were there any “surprise costs” or change orders above and beyond the original price promised?

Ask the installer: will the conduit will be visible or hidden? What type of conduit will they use? Most importantly: look them up here to find out if they are a licensed electrical contractor or are operating illegally.

We would be happy to answer any questions you have about solar! Get in touch with us today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips & Tricks for Solar Champions  

Here at Third Sun we are sincerely grateful for our customers. We’re grateful for your choice to go solar and your enthusiasm to spread the word with your friends and family. Even if you aren’t a customer, you can still be a Solar Champion. Read on to learn how.

How to talk to friends and family about installing solar

You know what convinced you to go solar. And you know you friends and family best. You are uniquely positioned to tell them why they should choose solar power. We recognize it can be a tricky conversation, but an important one to have, so we’ve included some tips & tricks below to help you!  

Become a Solar Champion  

Being a Solar Champion is a great way to spread the word about the environmental and financial benefits of choosing solar energy to power your home. What else? You will earn $500 with each referral that purchases solar through Third Sun. Your friends and family save money too when they choose Third Sun Solar. With your referral they will receive $250 off the price of their solar energy system. If you think a friend or family member is ready to talk to us about solar, enter them into the referral page of our website!  

Let your friend or family member know that we’ll be reaching out 

If you fill out the Solar Champion Referral form, let your referral know that we will be contacting them soon and to be expecting a call. Don’t forget to follow up with them, too. What did they decide to do? What additional information can you provide, or questions can you answer for them? 

A few ways you can ask if you can refer a friend or family member to Third Sun Solar:  

“You’ve expressed interest in my solar energy system in the past, and I’m reaching out to see if I could put you in contact with my installer, Third Sun Solar. They will provide a free quote specific to your home with no obligation to purchase! 

“I know we’ve talked in the past about you installing solar on your roof. If you want to learn more, I highly recommend my solar installer, Third Sun Solar. Would you like to put you in contact with them?  Through their referral program, you will receive $250 off the cost of your system if you choose to make the purchase!”  

“The 30% federal tax credit for solar is ending this year. This program will save you thousands on the upfront cost of your solar system, increasing your net gain in the long-run. If you’re interested in solar, I’ve got to say, 2019 is the year. Can I recommend you to my installer, Third Sun Solar? “ 

Host a solar open house 

Get some of your neighbors together for a solar open house. We’ll come out to talk about the system and answer any questions they may have about solar.  

Share your love of the sun on social media!  

An effective way to spread the word about solar: social media! Share photos for your home and your panels and to let your followers know about your choice to power your home with green energy.  

Tag Third Sun Solar, or use the hashtag: #PowerForLife 

Linking photos back to Third Sun will help potential customers see projects that we’ve done and help you tell your friends and family about your exciting investment! Feel free to tag your Solar Consultant in posts when it makes sense so they can follow up with interested friends and family! 

Call our office today to learn more about the Solar Champion Referral program. 877-OWN-SOLAR. We look forward to working with your friends and family!  

Building a Solar Ready Home

If you’re building a new home, you have the opportunity to build it with energy efficiency in mind. Energy smart choices will save you time and money in the long run. 

Tips for building an energy efficient home:  

  1. Work with a contractor who has built low-energy homes in the past 
  2. Use Energy-Star rated appliances, windows, and insulation.
  3. Super insulate your attic and sealing ducts  
  4. If you’re going solar, consider an electric stove and/or water heater
  5. Select highly insulated windows and doors 
  6. Use large south facing windows to bring heat into your home during the wintertime (and cover with shades to cool in the summertime) 
  7. Install energy efficient lighting 
  8. Power your home with the sun!  

Planning for Solar: 

  • Identify local requirements: Some homeowners associations, historic preservation districts and communities have special solar zoning requirements. Get up to speed by researching local zoning rules and regulations.  

Designing for Solar 

  • Position your home with solar in mind: If you want to power your home with solar, the most important thing to consider is positioning. A south facing roof is ideal for solar panels to capture the most sun. On average, east and west rooftops capture a little less of the suns energy. 
  • Roof angle: A roof pitched between 30 and 45 degrees is ideal for solar in Ohio.  
  • Roof truss: spacing of 4 feet or less.
  • Roof Material: We can mount panels most cost-effectively, with no roof penetrations, on Standing Seam Metal.
  • Conduit run: of 250 feet or less for solar electric lines.
  • Built-in metal conduit: from the attic to a location near the electrical service panel— typically 1-inch conduit.
  • Large service disconnect: as a point of connection for solar.
  • Minimize roof obstructions: Keep solar panels in mind when designing where to put vents and other roof attachments, like dormers and chimneys.  
  • Load Bearing of the roof: Make sure that your roof will be able to bear the additional weight of a solar energy system.  
  • Consider landscaping: For solar to work well, sunlight needs direct access to your roof. Think about the placement of your home in relation to trees and other landscaping that could cast shadows on your solar arrays.  

Work with your solar installer from the beginning. 

Once you’ve decided to include solar in the plan for your new home, give us a call. We’ve worked with many people who are building a new home and interested in installing solar. We know all the tricks. We’ll even create a plan with your contractor.  Third Sun Solar offers zero down to homeowners, which means you don’t have to bear the brunt of high upfront costs. You start saving money from day one.  

Our Portfolio  

We have worked on many energy efficient homes in Ohio. Last year we installed solar panels on a home in Cincinatti, Ohio, that achieved LEED Platinum certification. This residence is equipped with solar panels and geothermal. Learn more about LEED accreditation here. Third Sun Solar is a proud member of the US Green Building Council, the accreditation body for LEED certification.   

The Third Sun Solar Advantage – $500M of buying power and more!

In 2011, a group of solar installers representing territories from across the United States came together and launched a revolutionary plan to better serve their customers. These companies decided it was time to form a national organization where independent solar installers could support each other by pooling their purchasing power as well as sharing best practices. This cooperative model allows Third Sun Solar, an average sized regional solar business, to negotiate equipment purchases as though it were a $500 Million company.  Membership in Amicus Solar allows Third Sun Solar to achieve scale while still maintaining the speed and nimbleness, as well as the “family business feel” of a smaller local company. 

Today, we have 51 member-owners with office locations in 38 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada and we’re growing. Between all members, we have licenses to operate in all 50 states! The Cooperative is owned and democratically led by its member companies (like Third Sun Solar!).  Amicus members are passing their enhanced purchasing power along to customers by offering best solar pricing on high-quality solar electric system installations.  

Why does Third Sun Solar’s membership in Amicus make a difference to our customers?  

  • We purchase better equipment at lower pricesallowing us to provide better pricing to you without cutting any corners
  • Your system’s performance, quality and operational efficiency all improve based on Amicus members sharing best practices and technical knowledge
  • You have access to superior financing partners for residential and commercial loans   
  • Amicus vets all suppliers, only choosing companies with good track records so we can assure you that the equipment you’re investing in is the best out there  
  • It allows you to support istate installers instead of larger, national companies without sacrificing cost or quality  

 

Company founders Geoff and Michelle Greenfield recently won the “Cooperative Award” from Amicus Solar Cooperative for the work Third Sun Solar does for the group.

 

Dedicated to the mission of offsetting carbon emissions and giving customers agency over their energy production, Amicus members are mission driven, vision aligned businesses working to bring the solar revolution to energy consumers across the nation. We are proud to say 40% of Amicus members are B Corporations.  Similar to Patagonia, one of the founders of the B-Corp movement, these Amicus members are a special kind of company, with a legal commitment to people, planet, profit that is verified by an outside audit. Amicus Solar Cooperative is a B Corp itself, having won the distinction of achieving top 10% of all certified B Corps in the Impact Governance category. In 2015 Third Sun Solar was named Best for the Environment by B Corp

For average sized businesses like Third Sun Solar, who don’t have the big buying power of huge corporate solar installers, having this strong value chain relationship is important. Amicus is interested in maintaining thriving local solar installation companies and creating a competitive advantage by buying pooling power. Amicus empowers solar entrepreneurs by giving them a venue to compete on the big stage. As a result, jobs and money stay in your neighborhood!  

Here at Third Sun Solar we are invested in our community – it’s wellbeing and its future.  

If you would like a competitive quote for your home, business, or non-profit please reach out to Third Sun Solar today for more information. 

 

Solar Installation

Ohio Solar Installers: Defending Quality, Safety, Ethics and the Planet

Defending Quality, Safety, Ethics and the Planet

The news last week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that now more than ever we need to accelerate the shift to clean energy. For 19 years, Third Sun Solar has believed the best way to achieve this shift is by providing quality solar installations and using a high integrity consultative approach with prospective customers as they explore their options and investigate how and if solar is right for them. Our success is largely due to following these principles, and we believe that treating our customers with this respectful approach has led to our loyal customer base and helped the solar industry as a movement.

Indeed, our industry already faces many challenges as we are in an uphill battle we work to compete against an entrenched century old fossil fuel industry. With the recent growth and popularity of solar driven by improved technology and more public awareness, we have seen a growing number of national companies (and fly by night contractors) moving into the Ohio market. While we recognize that healthy competition is welcomed and is ultimately beneficial to consumers, we are also very concerned that “a few bad apples” could hamper the progress we have been working toward for almost two decades. Specifically, we have received complaints regarding aggressive sales tactics, deceptive marketing and low quality craftmanship from some of these new entrants.

When installing solar, there are several nuances that are state specific. All our public utilities operate under the guidance of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and they are required to follow specific rules regarding net metering and interconnection policies. These policies differ by state, so it is important to work with an installer familiar with Ohio policies, so the customer can be properly educated and understand their options and the true economics of their investment. Whether it is a lack of knowledge or intentional deceit by these new companies, the result is a misinformed customer and the potential to tarnish the reputation of our budding industry.

As these companies decide to cut corners, play loose with the facts and apply aggressive sales tactics, we receive a wide range of complaints. When working with a solar installer, it is important to ask the following questions:
– How long has the installer been working in your area?
– Does the installer use their own employees or hire subcontractors?
– Does the installer hold an electrical license (and is that electrician in Ohio or some far away state?)
– Are they insured in your state?
– Do their employees receive workers compensation and employee benefits?
– Are they using local weather data or national averages for their production estimates?
– What type of reviews do their customers and employees post online? Check Google Reviews, Better Business Bureau, Indeed, and Solar Reviews.
– Are they willing to provide references that have had their system installed longer than a year longer than five years?

The old saying “under promise and over deliver” should be the moto of a mission-driven company. This will build loyalty with customers and provide a positive reputation on our industry.

At Third Sun Solar, we have worked hard to build a strong, credible clean energy industry in Ohio over the last 19 years and would hate to see this reputation suffer from a few bad actors. Please consider checking out reviews from both customers and employees when selecting an installer. A company who poorly treats their employees, may not have much regard for their customers once the contract is signed. Remember, it is these very employees that will be responsible for the installation of your solar equipment (and the safety and quality of the work, electrical work within your home and the proper weatherproofing of the attachment to the roof).

We believe in this industry, and our planet is need of our services. Let’s not ruin this opportunity to make a lasting impact on our climate by taking short cuts and misleading people who believe in the benefits of solar.

If you would like an expert and honest quote for your home, business, or non-profit please sign up for a free solar estimate. 

Bethel Engineering Goes Solar with Third Sun Solar!

Bethel Engineering President David Whitaker’s passion for renewables just helped the company become more green and energy efficient. Learn more about the 252 kW system that Third Sun Solar installed for Bethel Engineering.

 

 

Third Sun Solar continues to empower businesses to save our planet by helping them go solar!

Good Nature Organic Lawn Care