Sunset behind home with new solar array

Solar Tax Credit Sunset

Solar in Ohio

2020 has been quite the unexpected year. And, believe it or not, the end of 2020 is quickly approaching. As we enter the last quarter of the year, we want to remind you that 2020 is the last year to claim the 26% federal tax credit. While the change from the 26% to the 22% in 2021 federal tax credit sure seems like a big drop, the federal tax credit for solar will sunset and drop down to ZERO in 2022. And that’s a really… big… drop.

There are a few points of confusion that we hear a lot from those curious about solar right now. We truly believe the time to act is now in Ohio if you’re:

  • Considering making an investment in your property by adding solar
  • If you’re planning on expanding your solar array to accommodate increased energy needs in this “new normal” & we’re all at home a little more.

If you fall into either category, keep reading to find answers to those solar questions.

Solar Investment Tax Credit

  1. The step down – The biggest incentive out there today, the Solar Tax Credit decreased from 30% to 26% in 2020. It will step down just once more to 22% in 2021 before dropping to 0% permanently for residential solar installations.
  2. Getting the timing right – If the price you are quoted includes the 26% federal tax credit, that means that the system will need to be physically installed this year for you to take that tax credit.
  3. Adding Batteries and/or Expanding – solar battery storage and expansion solar systems are eligible for the tax credit. The advancements in technology and the availability of batteries in Ohio make adding battery storage enticing to homeowners. Tesla Powerwall batteries are the #1 choice with many of our current customers, though Third Sun offers various battery options.
  4. Auxiliary Costs + Claims – The current tax code allows for the cost of system expansion, but not the cost of routine maintenance. De-installing and re-installing solar for a re-roofing project are ineligible costs for the Federal Tax Credit. Additionally, the –re-roof itself is also ineligible for this tax credit.

Preparing for Solar in 2021

2021 is the final year of the Solar Investment Tax Credit. In Ohio, we are anticipating a very busy 2021. If you know that this year is too soon for solar, start making plans for next year. Do you know if you’re eligible to take the solar tax credit? If not, find out! Talk with your tax professional to see if there is a way for you to structure your taxes to take the 22% solar tax credit. The Solar Investment Tax Credit is the largest solar incentive we’ve seen in Ohio. And we know lots of Ohioans won’t want to leave that on the table.

Simple supply and demand tells us that the solar market will be in a frenzy next year. Between equipment availability and installation capacity – we are planning for a busy year.

If you already have a 2021 solar installation in mind, we recommend reaching out to start your process now. We anticipate a large rush and installation wait times to go up as we move into 2021.

As you make the important decision to go solar, remember to consider the quality, ethics & longevity of your solar partner. Choose an installer you trust.

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Solar Panels on a Roof in Cleveland, Ohio

Solar Panels in Ohio

Solar Energy in Ohio

Ohio may not be the first place you assume has a hot market for solar… but you keep hearing about it! Do solar panels really work in Ohio? The short answer – yes. We have been in business for the past 20 years and the market only continues to grow in Ohio.

Is there enough sunshine for solar panels to work in Ohio?

In Ohio, winters are cloudy but there are plenty of sunny days throughout the year.  The US department of energy tracks and maps the multi-year annual and monthly averages from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This data has been collected at multiple locations to accurately represent regional solar radiation climates. The map shows current as well as predictive availability of solar energy. Ohio’s kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day fall in the 4-hour range. This means that on average throughout the year there are 4 hours a day of peak sunlight. This data helps us understand the amount of solar energy available for your panels to produce electricity.

What happens on cloudy, rainy, or snowy days?

Solar panels do produce electricity in cloudy weather. Obviously, they don’t produce quite as much as they would on sunny days. Solar panels may drop in production to about 10 – 25 % of what they would be producing during peak sun times. It seems like a little, but they are still able to produce electricity.

In Ohio, net-metering is a benefit that helps homeowners make the most of all the solar they produce during the sunniest months. Over the sunny summer months, solar homeowners send excess electricity back to the grid to power their neighbor’s homes. They receive credits for that excess production from their utility. During the winter, when the solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity to power the whole home, electricity is pulled from the utility power and paid for with the credits banked up during the summertime.

Cloudy climates booming with solar

Other unexpected states that are leaders in the solar market are New Your, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maine. Additionally, Seattle and Portland Oregon are quickly becoming some of the best cities for solar in America. In large part, the growth of solar in cloudy markets has to do with net-metering policies.

Other reasons that solar power is growing in less sunny states:

  1. Solar panels have become more efficient even on cloudy days
  2. Prices have come down which allows homeowners to purchase larger solar systems with appealing economics and shorter payback periods

Did you know solar panels actually don’t perform their best in high temperatures? It might seem counter-intuitive but too much heat can reduce solar panel output by 10 – 25%. In Ohio, our climate is sunny enough and cool enough that solar performs well during peak production months.

Solar production factors

In Ohio, our estimates include a solar production of 1,000-1,200 kWh (system production) per kW (system size) in Ohio. If you are curious about other elements to keep in mind when evaluating a quote for a solar system, find our proposal quote checklist here. Here in Ohio, solar panels will produce the most when facing South. The optimum angle for the solar panels is equal to the latitude where they are installed. In Ohio, that’s anywhere from a 30 – 40-degree angle. While these are optimal scenarios, the specificity of the angle degree and panel direction changes the production only slightly.

What factors determine Solar Production:

  • Azimuth
  • Tilt
  • Shade
  • Climate Data

All of these factors add up to a very customized quote for your home. In addition to understanding how much energy your solar panels will produce, these factors are used in crafting the economic portion of your solar quote and your solar system payback.

 

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Home with brown metal roof and solar array in Wooster, Ohio

How Much Does Solar Cost?

One of the first questions we hear from folks who have heard about solar is: “how much will it cost me to have solar installed on my house?”

Have you heard something that sounds too good to be true? While some companies advertise $0 down and free at install – there is still a cost to the person buying the system. Like buying a car with a loan, you may not have to pay anything upfront or make no down payment. But you will be the owner of the solar panels and you will eventually begin making payments on the system.

There are plenty of websites around that try to help answer these questions, but they’re complicated and use a lot of industry jargon. We strive to make solar easy for you and that starts with cutting through the noise and laying it all out on the table. So let’s break it down.

So, how much does solar cost?

Our average home solar panel system costs $24,000 before any incentives are considered ($17,760 after the federal tax credit). For the typical home in Ohio, solar prices this year come in a range from about $16,000 to $30,000 before the tax credit. All our systems are custom designed, so the average price is just an average. Looking at the big picture: the price of home solar can range from $10,000 – $100,000 based on your energy usage, goals, batteries, and budget. The reason it is hard to find an easy answer to your question is because solar systems are custom designed based on several factors unique to you (more below). The best way to get an answer is to sign up for a free, no-obligation solar quote.

Solar Array Cost Breakdown

  1. Solar Panels – the biggest part of your solar system
  2. Inverter – converts the energy generated from the solar panels (DC/ direct current) into energy that can be used by all the appliances and systems in your home (AC/ alternating current)
  3. Racking – attaches the solar panels to your roof or in place and angled in your yard
  4. Installation labor – our highly experienced in-house crew installs all the parts and pieces of your new clean energy power plant
  5. Design, permitting and admin – as a full turnkey installer, our team designs your system and files all permits with your local utility and inspection department. We take care to ensure that your local utility does their work needed to ensure the successful commissioning of your array.
  6. Other parts and pieces – nuts, bolts, wires, fuses all are all the small pieces necessary for a quality, long-lasting solar system.

Major Cost Variables

System Size

Pirce Impact: Boundless

Size is the most obvious adder when considering solar. The size of the solar system will determine the system’s cost. As your system increases in size, it will require more materials and labor which will increase the price. But due to the economy of scale, as your system gets bigger the price per watt will come down. In other words, as you add more solar the number of watts you get for each dollar you spend goes down. (more on how we size a system below)

Ground Mount vs. Roof Mount

Price Impact: 10% – 15%

Our typical residential solar array is mounted on the roof of a home. But, in rural areas where land is boundless and shading might be an issue on the roof, some of our customers opt for a ground-mounted solar array. Because the trenching adds more labor to the job and the racking system requires more materials the price for a ground-mounted solar array usually increases the cost of the project by about 10 – 15%. Over time, however, the added cost will be worth it. You may save more money by generating more power over the lifetime of the system.

Battery Storage

Price Impact: varies widely

Whether to increase self-consumption of solar rather than exporting it back to the grid or to have reliable power in times of power outages, batteries are exploding on the market. They are optional add on. We encourage solar shoppers to think about how solar batteries fit in with their energy goals when going solar.

In Conclusion…

We hope this information has helped you get an understanding of the genuine cost of a solar system. Here is a summary of the most important points:

  • Our average residential solar system costs ~ $24,000
  • Incentives can reduce the cost of the system by 26%
  • The price of solar varies widely & is based on your personal: roof space, energy goals, budget
  • The best way to get an answer to your question is to get a customized solar quote
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solar panels on home solar customer 2014

Solar Customer – 2014 Installation

Sue Righi is a Solar Customer from back in 2014. She started her solar journey with a tour of the Greenfield’s home in 2013, an annual event put on by Green Energy Ohio. She was impressed by their commitment to make the changes they did and be willing to share that in such an open way with the public. “I was paying attention for years to ways of minimizing one’s carbon footprint years before I got serious enough to get my array.” Sue says

In late 2013, Sue got the ball rolling on a solar installation of her own. She made the move to get a solar array installed on the roof of her home in rural Vinton County.

Her motivation for going solar?

It was her concern for the planet, all the species on earth, especially her son and his friends.

What specific feature did she like most about her solar purchase?

Sue says: “It works! I’m really not a techie so the finer points were immaterial to me.”

What has been the best part of having a solar powered home so far?

“Not using coal-based electricity. Also, people who come here – workers and friends – ask about them. People who have grown up here and probably do not consider themselves tree-huggers are interested in going solar.”

We notice the demographics of solar shoppers changing, too. Like Sue says, it’s not just the tree-huggers who are solar customers anymore. Due to the drop in pricing over the years, the economics and payback on residential solar energy systems have improved. This change makes solar appealing to individuals interested in a good financial investment.

What Obstacles Did Sue Face Installing solar?

Sue’s array was built with string inverters, which means that her production is only as good as the lowest producing panel in the series. So, if one panel is shaded, it brings down the performance of the system. When Third Sun installed Sue’s array, string inverters were the best the market offered.

Now, solar systems are installed with one power optimizer for each panel, which means that panels are optimized individually. When installed today with power optimizers, the production of one panel does not affect the others in the string.

While module level optimizers prevent the old problem of losing the output of an entire string when a module gets shaded, shade is still an important factor in good solar design. While the array should be in full sun during the most powerful 10-4 window, shade after that point by trees or other roof obstructions are not detrimental to the systems performance.

National Voter Registration Day

Happy National Voter Registration Day! Have you registered to vote?

We have the right to vote. Let’s use it!

Don’t forget: the deadline is October 5th.  There is a recommendation this year to vote Absentee by Mail, or vote early at the Board of Elections. The hope is to reduce crowding at the polls and the potential exposure of people to COVID-19.

Resources for Voting in 2020:

  1. Check to see that you are registered to vote & that your address is current. Use this link to enter your name and county to find your registration.
  2. You must register to vote or update your address it before October 5, 2020.
  3. After you registered to vote, request an Absentee Ballot Application.
    •  Submit a request for an Absentee Ballot using this link
    • Every Ohioan who is registered to vote was sent an Absentee Ballot Application (but maybe not or maybe it got thrown out)
    • Click here for a video that walks you through filling out an Absentee Ballot Application
  4. Vote Early In Person – this is super easy option. If you don’t want to Vote Absentee by mailing in your ballot, you can go to your Board of Elections starting on October 6 and vote early. This avoids any mailing issues or long lines at the polls on election day.
  5. Voting on Election Day – You can vote at your precinct location. Some precincts might not be open because of lack of poll workers due to the pandemic, so be prepared for possible long lines.
  6. If you’re inclined, register to work at the poll, or be an election observer. Find more resources to get involved here.

Women for Recovery Goes Solar

We are proud to announce the donation of a ground-mounted solar array to local non-profit, Women for Recovery, of Athens, Ohio.

Third Sun Solar has partnered with Women for Recovery of Athens, Ohio, to provide clean energy to the Serenity Grove Women’s Recovery House. The addition of a solar array to the Serenity Grove facility will greatly reduce the nonprofit’s utility costs for the next two decades or more.

CEO and co-founder, Michelle Greenfield says:

“As a company committed to the flourishing of our community, we are proud to support this organization’s critical mission”.

Third Sun began the installation of a ground-mounted solar array on September 8th 2020. The 22 panel, 7.4 kW array will provide an estimated 40% of electricity to the Women’s Recovery House.

Annually, the greenhouse gas emissions avoided by Serenity Grove will be equivalent to:

  • Charging 865,816 cell phones
  • Driving the perimeter of the United States 1.5 times
  • Recycling 289 bags of waste instead of landfilling

The Partnership

As a non-profit struggling to navigate the effects of the pandemic, Women for Recovery can immediately use the monetary savings from their electric bills to help with ongoing operating costs.

In addition, the longer term savings will enable many other options with expanded programming.

“We believe that partnering with Women for Recovery in this way will not just reduce the overhead costs for this mission-driven non-profit, but will bring needed attention to solar and help us to further accelerate the shift to clean energy that is catching on in the Midwest,” said Greenfield.

In speaking about the launch of the Women’s Recovery House, Executive Director  Betsy Anderson says

“It’s really been a collaboration with individuals and partner organizations. I don’t know if all communities are this way, but Athens has supported us remarkably.” She went on to note that the solar array will help offset operating costs for the nonprofit, but she says, “the longer term impact is, in addition to our commitment to recovery and helping women rebuild their lives, an ongoing commitment to our community, to our environment and to our planet.  To reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use, and demonstrate that to our residents, staff, board and community – that is invaluable.”

Employees at Third Sun Solar are excited about this partnership.

In the past, the company has partnered with national nonprofit Habitat for Humanity. This time, Third Sun Solar is excited to partner with a different local non-profit providing meaningful services women in Athens County.

“Part of our responsibility as a certified B Corp is to actively seek ways to promote social and environmental support of our community,” Greenfield said. “Helping provide affordable and sustainable housing while educating people on how easy it is to attain energy independence is a great fit for our mission-driven company, and our team is really looking forward to it.”

About Women for Recovery

Women for Recovery offers residential transitional living in a safe, secure and sober environment to women dedicated to recovery. Founded by women in Athens, Ohio, in 2016 and located just outside the city of Athens, the house can accommodate up to six women in a safe, secure, and sober environment. At Serenity Grove, women can establish healthy community connections, develop a new career, seek reunification with their children, learn personal finance and self-care skills, and be caringly guided in the practice of an individual program of recovery with the eventual goal of transitioning back into independent living free from the use of drugs and alcohol.

Contact: Betsy Anderson, Executive Director, andersonbetsy8@gmail.com

Watch a short clip of the install here:

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Home with REC Solar Panels in Avon Ohio

Invest at Home: How to Maximize Savings with the Solar Tax Credit  

Timing is everything when you’re thinking of purchasing a solar system for your home. It may sound like a great marketing pitch but, hey, it’s true. If you want to get the most savings on your solar install… now is the time to start exploring your options. The biggest incentive out there today, the Solar Tax Credit, or Investment Tax Credit decreased from 30% to 26% in 2020. It will step down just once more (to 22% in 2021) before dropping to 0% permanently for residential solar installations (a 10% solar tax credit will remain for commercial solar systems).  

Solar Tax Credit – How does it work? 

The solar tax credit is applied to your federal income taxes as a credit, and it reduces (or eliminates) what you owe. It’s not a refund or a deduction. Anyone who purchases a solar installation on their home or business is eligible to claim the tax credit. However, you must have a tax liability to claim the credit. You can claim the credit over more than one year. In doing this you carry any leftover amount forward into the next year.  

If you have any questions or need more clarity, our Solar Consultants are ready to chat with you about the solar tax credit. As you likely assumed, we are not tax experts, so we will ask you to reach out to your tax professional for any questions related to your specific tax liability.  

Too early? Think again! 

To claim the 26% tax credit, you must act quickly as our end of the year queue is filling up! If you purchase a residential solar system in 2020 and it is installed in 2021, you would only be eligible to take that year’s tax credit (22%). So, your system needs to be installed in 2020 to be eligible to claim the full 26%. (Heads up for business owners: the rules are slightly different here for commercial projects).  

Ohio Incentives & Additional Offers? 

Unfortunately, there are no statewide or local solar incentives available in Ohio. Loan options vary from solar company to company. Various finance partners have different programs and different rates (and different hidden fees baked into the price). Most solar installers in Ohio offer $0 down loans. Like them, we can offer you zero money down with any of our term loans. This is a great option for those that want to go solar but don’t want to tap into home equity or savings. 

 

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Solar Installation in Cincinnati Ohio

Choosing a Solar Installer in Cincinnati Ohio

Nathan Scott moved to Cincinnati, Ohio back in 2007 for work and has lived there ever since. Recently, Nathan and his family moved to Montgomery, a suburb of Cincinnati, and began to settle in. It was in 2016 that Nathan and his family started thinking about going solar. Read more to learn about this journey and how he chose a solar installer in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Motivation

What motivated this initial investigation was Nathan’s budding family. He and his wife had two young children and were noticing their carbon footprints increasing. They were buying more food, doing more laundry, driving bigger cars. His family was using more energy overall and his primary motivation was to go green and tread a little lighter. With his kids in mind, he thought about where the climate would be 40 years down the road. Going solar was a way that he could contribute to the renewable energy solution.

When asked about the financial aspect of his solar purchase, Nathan said that the economics played a part in his choice to go solar. He likes knowing that there is a known return on investment. The added value in his home is another financial bonus. If his family ever does sell their home, free electric is a compelling selling point.

What He Learned

Nathan says that he learned a lot throughout the whole solar journey. Like a lot of shoppers, Nathan got quotes from a couple of solar installation companies. How did he choose a solar installer in Cincinnati, Ohio? He found that the 2 companies he worked with had different philosophies when designing a solar system. The first company he had out proposed a huge system, maxing out his roof with panels. They posited that if you’re going to go solar, you might as well go huge. The proposed 34-panel system would have made it more expensive but given the family more solar production. Third Sun proposed Nathan go with a 21-panel design to offset 50 % of his annual consumption. At the time Nathan felt that the smaller system seemed to be just the right size.

Solar Installer in Cincinnati Ohio – Why He Chose Third Sun

  • The design – Since installation, he realized that the additional 14 panels proposed by the other company would have been largely shaded by trees and other roof obstructions. He understands how our designers laid out the roof array to maximize the areas that get the most sun. He has 2 big trees in his yard and the roof array was designed in a way that avoids their shading.
  • The gutters – In the years since installing the array, Nathan has noticed that cleaning the gutters is a lot easier than it would have been with a roof entirely covered in panels up to the very edge.
  • The electric panel – Something else that the family avoided when going solar was having to upgrade their electrical panel. The output of the inverter was right at the line where they did not have to do a panel upgrade, which was a big saving.
  • The panels – The last thing that Nathan liked about Third Sun’s proposal was the look of the panels themselves. Third Sun’s standard solar panel offering is a black panel with a black frame that some homeowners prefer over the blue panels with silver frames.

Looking at the data, the annual solar projections are 100% spot-on, which Nathan is pleased with. His family has completed some energy-efficient home upgrades like adding energy-efficient lightbulbs and installing a new central air conditioning unit, as well as adding an electric car, the Tesla Model 3. His solar panels are either meeting or exceeding their proposed annual energy offset for his household.

Between our designers knowing exactly where to place the panels and our consultant’s earnest listening to the family’s true solar goals – Nathan got the solar system that he wanted installed on his family’s home in fall of 2017.

What He Likes Most

  • It more than offsets all of the AC use, Nathan says: “It’s like we have AC that doesn’t cost anything to run. You’re at your highest solar production when you need the AC and we’re reducing that load on the grid.”
  • Monitoring – With Solar Edge optimizer monitoring Nathan can see each panel and its production. Nathan looks at the monitoring software frequently – he says he doesn’t need to but it’s fun to track.
  • The system runs itself and doesn’t need anything.
  • Record solar production this year, from July 2019 – July 2020. The past 12 months have been sunny!

Advice to those shopping

His advice to those thinking of going solar? “The cost is similar to a used car, but this will last 25-40 years. It was a no-brainer for us. I would be glad to spend this money on something that will last this long.  If you think about other things you might spend this kind of money on – this is one of the only ones that will pay you back.”

Nathan says that in the summertime a lot of people just come up to his house and ask questions about it. We love to hear that – it confirms our suspicion that there are so many homeowners out there who are curious about solar. It just takes one neighborhood leader to spark that interest in others.

Lastly, Nathan notes that there was a lag time between contract signing and installation. So, if you’re thinking about going solar (especially in 2020 to get the full 26% federal tax credit!) start now because it will take a while before the date of your solar installation.

 

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A Solar Champion in Cincinnati

Damian has lived in Mt. Washington, a neighborhood in Cincinnati for the past 20 years. Something he loves about his neighborhood is the ease at which he can move. He can catch a bus to work downtown, and walk to the post office, library, and grocery store. There are probably more people out now, walking around their neighborhoods, and interacting with their neighbors. When you go walking around your neighborhood, do you notice any solar arrays on the rooftops?

Solar in Cincinnati

Damian started seriously thinking about going solar in 2017, a few months prior to taking the plunge. Really, it was something he was always considering.

In 2012 his furnace from the 1940s needed replaced, so he had a geothermal system installed to power the HVAC system. After that, with guidance from local non-profit organizations, he got a whole-house energy audit. He got better insulation for his home and learned more ways that he could make his home energy efficient. He says that he is always looking for the win/win – an investment in the environment that also eventually saves his family some money. Going solar was the natural next step.

Damian says that he’s a tree hugger by nature. He was also motivated by the eventual cost savings.
Like other solar homeowners, he realized throughout the process that the solar array would increase the resale value of his home.

Damian says: “The concept is that it’s free energy – the sun is shining – why not?”

Solar for the Climate

Like Third Sun, Damian is also a believer that as a country we are way too reliant on fossil fuels which contribute to pollution and climate change. He had read about other countries that were more progressive environmentally. He and his wife had even traveled and seen the abundant solar in Germany, a country that gets less sun annually than Cincinnati, Ohio.

A Pioneer

Damian is a pioneer in his community. He promotes green energy at work and advises friends and colleagues who have expressed interest in clean energy. In August 2020 Damian joins the true Solar Champion club.  His colleague who had been considering solar and who Damian had been helping along in the process chose to take the plunge with Third Sun Solar!

What Damian Learned

  1. Panel durability – Damian was surprised at how lightweight the panels are and how durable they are, maintaining their quality season after season for decades.
  2. The installation process – the installation process itself was fuss free and quick.
  3. Net-Metering in Ohio – Damian learned that sometimes it’s not the best financial move to place as many panels as possible onto the roof. While you can send energy back into the grid, you do get paid wholesale, not retail, for that energy. Working with your installer to find the sweet spot is vital.

What He Likes Best

Damian likes being able to use the SolarEdge dashboard to see the “juice” he’s generating daily or monthly.

Damian says: “I have a calendar reminder to check SolarEdge once a month – it’s been fun. I look and see that I’ve got 800 kWh – Sweet! That’s 800 kWh I didn’t have to pay Duke Energy for!”

Also, the system itself is fuss-free. So far it’s been entirely maintenance-free.

Advice for those shopping for solar

Damian knows the questions you have: “How do you get started? Who installs solar? Do you have to install yourself? Do companies do it? How much will it cost?”

His advice to you? Pick up the phone and make a call. An estimate doesn’t cost a thing and all measurements are taken for you. You’ll be assisted through the loan process and most of the paperwork is done for you. There is no obligation, and it’s worth looking at.

“Solar eventually becomes free energy. The number of days where you get a decent amount of sun even through October and November is considerable. Even on a cloudy day you’re getting a decent amount of solar with your panels.”

Damian says — “Slap some panels up there and enjoy it! Do good for the planet and save a little money! If you can look long term it totally makes sense.”

 

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David Vs Goliath: Solar, Corrupt Utilities and Ohio State Representative Larry Householder

Solar, Corrupt Utilities and Ohio State Representative Larry Householder

Even if you are not a solar policy wonk like me you are likely reading headlines about the $61 Million bribery and corruption scandal that is rocking Ohio politics.  It turns out that the millions of plain old “legal” campaign contributions have not been sufficient for a dying monopoly to prop up its old, dirty and uneconomic power plants.  We are learning more and more details of the web of corruption and secret deal making behind the passing of Ohio’s House Bill 6 in 2019.  This was the bill described as “Worst Energy Bill of the 21st Century” that locked Ohio ratepayers into billions of dollars of subsidies to utilities while at the same time gutting our already watered-down support for energy efficiency and clean energy, both proven to save Ohioan’s money.

Make your voice heard: follow this link to let Ohio leadership know that you support a repeal of HB6.

The headlines are just the beginning…

They mark the end of the covert phase of the investigation, and now begins the  subpoenas, plea deals and testimony of the public phase.  This is a really big deal and will rock Ohio politics and energy policy for years to come.  We urge a complete repeal of HB 6 as well as a review of other important actions in the Householder era, including the appointment of a leading critic of clean energy to lead the PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio).

 

This is a big deal for solar

Ohio is the fifth largest electricity consumer in the country, and our state government’s apparent servitude to entrenched utilities is reversing potential progress despite the great potential benefits that a shift to clean energy would bring.  In a different era we were focused on the future not the past.  In 2008 Governor Ted Strickland signed SB 221, a bi-partisan effort to remove utility monopoly protections and modernize and diversify Ohio’s utility grid.

 

As Ohio has reversed course, other Midwestern states have continued moving toward clean energy in pursuit of multiple benefits: creation of installation jobs that cannot be off-shored, a diversified energy mix that offers grid resiliency and attracts companies that demand a clean energy mix, and finally the renaissance of manufacturing in this sector.

 

I think by this point you have figured out who “Goliath” is in this tale: the enormous entrenched utility industry (with profits extracted from Ohio going out of state and out of the country).  The “David” in this still unfolding story is the rest of us: the thousands of customers that have invested in their own solar on homes and businesses, the thousands of solar companies such as Third Sun Solar and all of the families and local economies their payrolls support, the thousands of citizens being poisoned by air pollution of these ancient dirty power plants (primarily poor people and people of color in marginalized communities).

 

How will this story end?

Will David prevail?  It is up to all of us to “be David” and demand justice and progress.  Overturning  HB6 is an initial step, but getting back on track toward clean energy in Ohio will take a lot more work and most importantly our demanding that our legislators work for us the voters rather than campaign donors (and bribers).  Rise up and take your power back; let’s take down “Goliath” once and for all and set our state and world on a path to a clean and sustainable future.

 

 

Image courtesy of Ohio Citizen Action and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

 

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