Introducing Solar For All, A New Podcast From Third Sun Solar

By Geoff Greenfield

I am very excited to announce the launch of a new podcast: “Solar for All”

This podcast will be available on the various pod streaming sites as well as through a new website: www.solarforall.show.

In this new project, I speak with various guests about the intersection of race, class, diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice with the solar industry.

As the title of the podcast suggests, our mission is to achieve solar for all.

We envision a truly inclusive solar society that captures solar’s potential to impact climate change AND improve our social and economic systems. Systems, which we believe have been historically oppressive and exploitative.

Our vision is to build this podcast to serve as a platform that uplifts and amplifies a diverse group of contemporary stories and initiatives in the solar industry, increasing their impact and reach and (hopefully) accelerating their spread and influence. While the podcast is launching today, we have been building up a backlog of interviews with some amazing guests, and this experience has been powerful. During these conversations, I have been both inspired and challenged as I confront my own racism and biases and come to grips with my tremendous privilege.

Our guests

Some of my guests have been doing this work for decades, while others are just beginning this journey, being vulnerable and hopefully encouraging others in powerful positions to reconsider priorities and assumptions. The stories shared by our diverse guests all have value, and we are honored and humbled to bring them to what we hope will be a large audience. Our ultimate goal is not just to talk about these subjects but also to be agents of change and progress in the solar industry and beyond. The conversations we engage in will contain both criticism and inspiration. We intend to shine a bright light on the challenges and issues that are part of the daily lived experience of some while remaining hidden to others. We also will be calling out and celebrating the progress being made on many fronts, from rooftops to boardrooms. In all these conversations, we strive to be constructive and humble, curious rather than judgmental… as a friend of mine often reminds me, we are striving for progress, not perfection.

Join us!

While the noble goals of justice and truth are inherently worthwhile and stand on their own in a moral sense, these issues are a practical matter. We believe that for solar to rise to its greatest potential and have its fullest impact, it MUST become more inclusive and diverse quickly, leveraging the energy and contributions of the full spectrum of humanity. That is easier said than done, but that is what we are setting out to do, and we invite you to come along with us and become accomplices and co-conspirators. Tell us how we are doing and how we can be better. Reach out to be on the show or suggest someone that would add to the conversation. Share the show with your colleagues and network.

Find us at www.solarforall.show

 

Our Beliefs:

  • We believe the most effective way to tackle issues of systemic bias in our industry is to name them, talk about them, and take responsibility to change them
  • We believe that doing nothing to address inequality in the clean energy space supports inequality in the clean energy space. our work exists to dismantle that
  • We believe that it is not the job of the people being targeted by prejudice and discrimination to start the dialogue
  • We believe we must recognize that systemic inequity in our workspace
  • We believe that everyone deserves brave and safe spaces to be vulnerable about their experiences; therefore, we work to create safe spaces for individuals as we work to promote social justice
Columbus Ohio Solar Installation Map

Choosing a Solar Installer in Columbus Ohio

Wondering how to choose a solar installer in Columbus Ohio?

One of the most prominent places we do business at Third Sun Solar is Ohio’s Capital: Columbus, Ohio, and the Greater Columbus Area. While we work across Ohio, we’ve been a solar installer in Columbus, Ohio, for the past 20 years. We work closely with homeowners in all areas all over the city.

Columbus is an Expanding City

Developers keep solar in mind as they build new communities.

Home Owners Associations have fielded many questions over the years from homeowners interested in solar power. We have watched as many communities governed by HOA’s see rule changes, allowing residential solar arrays.

We even see new homebuyers thinking about rolling Solar into their big home purchase.

Thanks to net metering in Ohio, the Federal Solar Tax Credit, zero down financing with zero payment for 12 months, among other perks, solar in Columbus has never been more affordable.

Solar panels aren’t just an environmental decision. They’re a wise economic decision, too—solar cuts down the amount you pay from your utility provider. Through net-metering in Ohio, any excess power your solar system produces is sent back to the utility grid for your neighbors to use. You get credits for that energy your system produces, and you can use those credits for any utility power you use during times that your solar system isn’t producing energy.

Testimonials from our Columbus, Ohio Customers

“After considering solar for several years, I convinced myself I was waiting for the technology to achieve a critical performance that would represent the right time to move forward. However, after working with Third Sun Solar, I believe a significant piece of the puzzle was finding the right company with which to work. Everyone at Third Sun was very willing to answer questions and explain the technology as well their process down to the smallest details necessary for me to make the right decision… Read more

“I have a home with a complex electrical system that includes a whole home backup generator, multiple sub-panels, and an external garage where the solar panels were installed. Third Sun easily was able to install a great 33-panel system that works flawlessly. They were very professional and responsive from day one. I have no regrets. They delivered exactly what they said they would, and actually started and finished the project early… Read more

“We had a tremendous experience with Third Sun Solar. As I met with several solar companies, I was quickly drawn toward Third Sun as they helped empower me with knowledge about solar energy so I could make the best decision for my family. Once we decided to work with Third Sun, they were professional and easy to work with throughout the entire process. We love our solar energy system and can’t give a more positive recommendation to Third Sun! Read more

Find more testimonials from customers living in Columbus and beyond.

About Third Sun Solar in Columbus Ohio

Third Sun Solar is Ohio leading solar installer with the most experience in the state. We’ve been working with residential and commercial clients for the past 20 years. We love working with clients in Columbus, Ohio. Here’s why:

  • Columbus Embraces Solar – form the SMART Columbus Electric Vehicle initiative, to solar embraced at the city and county level Columbus is a city that supports solar energy.
  • Columbus Residents Deserve the Best Value – finding the highest quality solar installer is essential to everyone. We believe homeowners in Columbus should have access to a reputable, mission-driven solar installer who uses high-quality components.
  • Columbus Residence Deserve Transparency – it’s crucial for you to feel heard during your solar journey. No matter the stage you’re at, we will work with you to understand your goals and what type of solar solution makes the most sense for you, your family, and your home.

Start exploring solar energy for your home or business in Columbus OH. Sign up today to get your free solar evaluation started. Your first ste Columbus Solar Consultant, who will determine if your home is right for solar energy.

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Solar Panels on Ohio Home

Will Solar Power Offset My High Summertime Electric Bills?

You want to be comfortable in the summertime. You want to keep the AC at a suitable temperature to keep you and your family cool. If you have a pool, you need to keep your pumps running. But, come the end of the month, you keep getting hit with pricey utility bills.

And, with a consistent 3% rise in utility bills over the past decade, you are left wondering how to keep your bills predictable and economically keep your homes cool in the summertime.

It makes sense that if your bills are exceptionally high in the summertime, and the sun is hot and shining most of the season, that solar panels might be a solution to high summertime electric bills.

But is it true that solar panels will offset high summertime electric bills? Read on to learn more.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels on your roof produce AC energy. This AC energy travels to an inverter. The inverter converts the energy into DC energy which is usable in your home.

When your home consumes energy while your panels are producing, the solar energy you produce powers the loads in your home (AC, pool pumps, refrigerator, TV, water heater).

Any energy produced over what your home consumes is sent back to the utility grid and routed to power the loads in your neighbors’ homes.

Through a process called net metering, you get credit for that energy. These credits will be applied to your future electricity use when you pull energy from the grid when your solar panels are not producing power for your home (at night and in the wintertime).

The Key to Summertime Solar Energy

Luckily, solar panels have become an affordable option for homeowners.

Your solar system will produce the most solar energy in the summertime on long, sunny days. Once you have your solar system installed, you can expect low to no utility bills in the summer.

What else? Summertime solar production helps you prepare for the wintertime as you bank up credits with your utility for your excess solar production.

Tax Credits for Solar Power

In Ohio, our main incentive for installing solar energy is the federal investment solar tax credit.

The solar investment tax credit (ITC), which was scheduled to drop from 26% to 22% in 2021, will stay at 26% for two more years (2021 and 2022). This means that solar projects that reach completion in 2021 and 2022 will still receive a tax credit of 26%. All markets will drop to a 22% tax credit in 2023, and the residential market will drop to 0%, while the commercial markets will sit at a permanent 10% credit beginning in 2024.

Third Sun Solar’s Energy Production Guarantee

Third Sun Solar offers new customers a 5-year cash back energy production guarantee with 24/7 monitoring and 100% covered maintenance.

Key benefits:

  • Our 24/7 remote monitoring systems are responsible for protecting hundreds of thousands of customers. We will know if your system is underperforming, often before you do.
  • 100% covered system maintenance for all system parts and components- including wiring and inverters.
  • Every year – if your system generates less than 95% of forecasted energy, we pay you for annual energy loss even if you experienced a bout of harsh weather!

Ohio’s Leading Solar Installer

It takes a lot to succeed in the Solar Industry for 20 years.

We are proud of the reputation we have built. We are a certified benefit corporation, Ohio’s longest-standing solar installation company, and women-owned and operated.

When you’re ready to go solar, remember to choose a quality installer that you can trust for many years to come. If you’re ready to reach us now, give us a call at 877-OWN-SOLAR or fill out the form below to start the process.

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Introducing Enphase Battery Storage

 

Links mentioned:

Enphase Storage: Your Energy. Your Choice.

Introducing Enphase Storage: an all-in-one AC-coupled advanced battery energy storage system that allows you to easily store the energy generated by your solar installation. Enphase Storage technology teams up with advanced home monitoring and control software to ensure that your home enjoys continuous power, even when the grid is down.

Modular Solar Energy Storage

  • Start simple with partial home backup – backup just the essentials, like lights, internet and a refrigerator in partial backup configuration
  • Grow over time, add power incrementally – easily add Encharge 3 or 10 storage or more solar to handle additional loads
  • Or just go big with complete home backup – backup an entire home by installing multiple Encharge 10 storage systems

One App, All in the Power of Your Hand

  • Generate – you’ll have full visibility over the energy production and health of your solar PV system, as well as status of your battery
  • Store – energy consumption monitoring will help you maximize your time off grid during utility outages
  • Control – You can easily change modes to priority backup power or maximize energy savings

The Enlighten mobile app also comes with a special Storm Guard™ feature that monitors weather conditions in your area. If a storm or major disaster is on the horizon, Storm Guard will automatically put your Enphase Storage in Full Backup Mode to prepare you for weather-related outages. All the above comes with real-time reporting and home energy monitoring so that you can closely track your solar installation’s performance – no matter where you are.

All from a single Manufacturer

With Enpahse storage, all components are made by a single manufacturer and are designed to work perfectly together. This improves system reliability and resilience.

Enphase Storage solves the most common problem with solar – generating power even with the grid is disconnected or there is a power outage – by weaving redundancies, backups, and monitoring into a single unified ecosystem.

Get a customized Solar Energy Storage proposal for your home

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Solar Ohio Customer Experience Matters

Customer Experience Matters

When you are considering installing solar, customer experience matters.

When you first start on your journey, you’re thinking about a lot. You’re considering if your home is a good fit for solar energy, what your target monthly payment is, when you will see a return on investment.

Once you decide that the time is right, there is one more big consideration: choosing the right solar partner. Getting to know your solar partner before you sign your contract is essential. You want a good partner that demonstrates integrity and has your best interest at heart – from day one for years to come.

As a locally owned, longstanding solar company with a solid reputation, Third Sun Solar is dedicated to our communities best interests. Our business model is rooted not just in being a great solar installer but also in being a good neighbor.

Here is our formula for driving a high-quality customer experience.

Consultative Approach

When you have built your business on friends telling friends about your service, you know building relationships is critical. So many of our customers found us after hearing their friends or family talking about us.

Building relationships with our clients is the root of our business. We don’t do high-pressure sales because we understand that that’s not how good neighbors treat one another.

After 21 years in business, we know that solar is complex, the solar journey can be long and winding, and we’re here to be a guide to help you navigate. We work every day to educate our community about solar energy and work towards advancing our mission.

Communication is Key

Even after you sign up for solar energy, your solar journey isn’t over! The process from contract signing to installation is a new leg in the journey. It’s our role to keep you in the loop as we design, permit, schedule, and order equipment for your project.

Our staff is great at managing all these elements and have excellent technical knowledge, but they have great people skills too. In fact, that’s something we look for when we hire new team members.

Integrity Takes a Front Seat

When you’re as passionate about our company mission as we are, everyone is committed to rolling up their sleeves and working hard on behalf of our customers.

From explaining how to take the Federal Solar Tax Credit, unpacking your Rural Electric Co-Ops unique rules and regulations, and explaining how to read your electric bill — we’re here for you.

When it comes to installing solar, much of the work we do and customer education we give is state-specific. All our public utilities operate under the guidance of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. They are required to follow specific rules regarding net metering and interconnection policies. These policies differ by state, so it is crucial to work with an installer familiar with Ohio policies, so the customer can be fully educated and understand their options and the true economics of their investment.

We believe in this industry, and our planet needs our services.

Commitment to You, For Years to Come

Once you get your first electric bill after installing solar energy – we celebrate! Then, we sit down to explain what it all means.

If you are exploring solar energy for your home, we know that you are a lifelong learner. It comes as no surprise that even after you have solar installed, there is always more to learn! And we are here for you every step of the way.

 

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Third Sun Solar Pride Logo

Being An Ally, Happy Pride Month

In June we celebrate pride month to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Third Sun Solar stands with the LGBTQIA+ community during June for Pride Month, as well as year-round.  

To celebrate Pride Month, Third Sun Solar is making donations to Ohio-based organizations supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. We look forward to sharing these stories with you over the course of the month. 

JEDI Work

We’re eager to share the work our member-owned purchasing cooperative, Amicus Solar Cooperative has been working on over the past year, through the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion group (JEDI). Third Sun Solar’s Chief Operating Officer, Roberta Washburn has been heading up the Human Resources and Policy Committee.  

When asked what the group has been up to over the past year, Roberta says: “We are reviewing language, and policies to create an inclusive and welcoming environment to retain and attack team members.   

We look at policies, job descriptions, handbook language, position postings, and all things HR to ensure they are using inclusive language and include policies to make sure employees of all backgrounds feel welcome and supported.  

We are creating shared documentation, for building a more inclusive workforce.” 

Here are some fundamental principles that Amicus Cooperative members share, statements developed from the work for the JEDI HR Committee.  

We welcome any organizations, business leaders, or HR professionals to incorporate this language into their own policies and use the text as building blocks for action at your organization and in your community. 

  • We believe that business is about so much more than numbers and that we can have a positive impact on the people in our orbit, from our customers to our community to our employees. 
  • We believe that business should be a force for good: for the environment, for our communities, for our customers, and for the people who work here. In order to positively influence each of those stakeholders, we must carefully consider how our actions ripple out into the world.  
  • We seek to improve team members’ lives through fair pay and human-centered policies that care for the whole person and not just for our business interests. 
  • We dedicate time and resources to ensure that all races, all genders, and all personal identities know that they are integral to our company. 
  • When we think about our company, we recognize that our culture is the sum of our people – and each new team member adds to the richness of our company. We don’t expect you to fit a mold; we hope that you will add something new, even as we all pursue a common mission.  
  • We enjoy learning from each other’s perspectives – it would be awfully boring if we all agreed on everything.  
  • Welcome home; we all have a purpose here  
  • To achieve a sustainable future, climate justice, and social justice must go hand in hand  
  • When people feel respected and included, they are empowered to be more creative, innovative, and successful. 

“We celebrate Pride because we are committed to a more diverse and inclusive future — for our business, our community, the solar industry, and our world.” – Geoff Greenfield, CEO  

Our core value of growth demonstrates that we are always striving to be better  

We know that we can always be better accomplices, friends, and allies to marginalized groups, including the LGBTQI+ community.  

We will continue sharing our stories as we celebrate and grow. We hope you will join us.  

Tesla Powerwall Installation in Athens, Ohio

Do I Need Solar Batteries When I Go Solar?

Solar Batteries are a hot topic! More often than not, when people go solar, they assume that they’ll need solar storage too. In reality, this isn’t the case. In fact, many homeowners decide to go solar without adding battery backup.   

So, why may someone choose to install solar batteries? And why might their neighbor decide not to?   

We’ve broken down the considerations below to help you make the brightest choice for yourself and your family.  

Goals  

Goals are one of the first steppingstones our solar customers encounter on their solar journey.   

It’s essential to understand your goals early on so your solar installer can design the solar installation project of your dreams. And to meet all your needs.   

Here are a few of the most common goals our customers may have:   

  • Save money on your electric bill   
  • Choose a greener, cleaner, renewable energy source to power your home  
  • Have control over future utility rate escalation at your home   
  • Stop “renting” power from the utility and “own” your power   
  • Ensure you have power in the case of grid failure  
  • Ensure you have power for critical appliances (medical, refrigeration)   

Did any of the above goals resonate with you?   

Solar In A Blackout  

Here’s something important to understand: Your Solar PV will not operate during a power outage without a battery. We know this comes as a surprise to many. The feature ensures that electricity doesn’t leak onto power lines as utility workers find the electricity disruption. Read more here.   

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in power outages for several reasons. These include the prevention of wildfires and the increased frequency and intensity of storms.   

So, if having power during an outage is one of your goals for going solar, you’re going to want to explore battery options with your solar consultant.   

Cost of Solar and Solar Batteries   

Batteries add substantially to the cost of a solar system.   

For some of our customers, their goals align with solar storage, making the added cost worth it. Can you put a price on having power to necessary medical equipment in your home when you need it most?  

And, for some of our customers whose primary focus is on solar system payback, return on investment, and do not experience frequent power outages – they opt for no solar storage with their solar system.   

But, keep in mind – solar energy storage is an approved expense for the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit!   

Going Green  

If you opt for a solar system without storage, any excess power generated from solar goes back into the grid and helps your neighbors reduce their carbon footprints.   

You treat the grid-like a big battery, storing excess energy you produce and send off in the form of credits. At night or in the wintertime, you take power from the grid but pay for that use with the credits you received for sending your excess energy to your neighbors.   

Adding battery backup does allow you the option to self-consume more of the solar energy you produce at your own home.   

Which option sounds more environmentally friendly to you? Does one setup align more with your green energy goals than the other?   

Take Your Power Back from the Utility with Solar Batteries 

With a grid modernization coming, many of our customers have experienced increased electricity rates over the years. And they know those rates will continue to rise.   

In addition to this, regulatory concerns can be a motivating factor for homeowners to explore solar energy storage options.   

Many utilities have shifted away from tiered rate structures to time of use rate structures designed to encourage energy conservation during peak energy use times (5- 8 p.m.).   

This rate structure hurts solar PV system owners.  

 The amount of credit you receive for the solar energy you produce becomes lower during the day when the solar PV system is producing the most. And, the cost of energy use jumps up in the evenings when their solar PV system isn’t producing much power.   

Pairing solar energy storage with solar allows the homeowner to store the excess solar energy they generate during peach energy use times instead of paying expensive rates to the utility.   

The Next Step In Your Discovery 

To take a deeper dive into Solar Energy Storage Options, check out this video series which answers most of the battery questions we hear on the regular.   

If you’re ready to speak to a professional and get some answers right from the source, we would be happy to set you up with a no-obligation free solar and storage evaluation for your home.   

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Residential Online Solar System Calculator

Online Solar System Calculators: Pros and Cons When Considering Cost

When homeowners or businesses first start on their solar journey, many encounter online solar system calculators.   

After seeing and hearing all the advertisements about how solar can save you money – you may be motivated to pin those numbers down. Online solar system calculators can seem like a good place to start.   

This tool on various websites provides you with quick pricing for a solar installation. You can get an estimate in minutes!  

But, for homeowners serious about considering solar, the best way to get accurate pricing and financial analysis of solar for their home is to get a solar evaluation by a local solar installer.   

So, what are the pros and cons of online solar system calculators?    

 

Pros 

Online solar system calculators are helpful when you’re first starting.   

They’re pretty sophisticated– in addition to asking about your monthly electric bill and utility provider, many ask about the pitch of your roof and shade.    

Some solar system calculators provide net solar savings over the lifetime of the solar system.  These give a glimpse of how long it will take your savings to offset the cost of the solar system.   

They’re quick and easy, and for that reason, they offer an excellent first glimpse at solar pricing.    

  

Cons 

So what do online solar system calculators leave out?   

Usable roof space

One element that online solar system calculators cannot account for is the usable area of your roof. It takes a professional to understand how obstructions like dormers, chimneys, and vents will affect the system size and the best equipment to use. In addition, equipment variations can significantly affect system costs.   

Additionally, different cities, historic districts, and homeowner’s associations have various regulations for space that a solar installer needs to leave on the roof surrounding the perimeter of the solar system. We call these “setback requirements.”   

Having a local installer familiar with these localized “setback requirements” will be necessary for ensuring your system is sized correctly and passes inspection once complete. Unfortunately, we have not seen any online solar calculators that can take these local requirements into account.   

Budget & goals 

Some other significant cost variable includes your budget for solar and your goals. A solar specialist will offer different equipment at different pricing, with your budget and goals in mind, to help you reach your solar vision and goals.   

Financing 

Lastly, financing plays a significant role in solar system costs. The cost of the same solar system can vary widely based on how you choose to finance it.   

  

Don’t miss out 

We conclude that you’ll undoubtedly miss out on customized details if you rely solely on an online solar system calculator.   

  

“I don’t know if I’m ready for a full evaluation” 

Here at Third Sun Solar, we have a consultative, educational, no-pressure sales approach.   

We focus our solar evaluations on customer education, and we give you all the information you will need to make an informed decision. We will be the first to tell you if your home is not a good fit for solar.   

Remember – online solar system calculators are a fine place to start your research. But a no-pressure, free, customized evaluation will get you on the path towards achieving your solar dreams.   

Sign Up for a Free Solar Evaluation

Complete the form below and one of our solar consultants will contact you within one business day to start your evaluation.
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Understanding Solar Energy for Kids 

When families go solar, it’s natural for kids to want to learn more about solar energy too.  

The complexities of solar energy can be pretty confusing. So we broke down some of the basics and main points about solar power.  

Bring your family along for the ride. There is a lot to learn for both parents and kids alike.  

What is Solar Energy? 

The sun has produced energy since the beginning of time – for billions of years! The amount of sunlight you receive varies depending on: location, time of day, time of year, and weather conditions. 

Solar energy is used by plants to eat, reproduce, grow and survive.  

People have used solar energy for hundreds of years to cook food, keep warm, and to dry clothes.  

Today we can use the sun’s energy to create electricity. 

How Solar Panels Create Energy  

Solar cells are the technology that turns sunlight into electricity.  

Many solar cells create a solar panel, and when solar panels go onto a home, we call that a solar array.  

Solar panels on a roof collect the sunlight that hits the roof and turns that sunlight into electricity. The electricity produced by solar panels on a home can power anything inside the house that uses electricity.  

If you walk around your neighborhood, you’ll probably see a home or a business with solar panels. But have you ever seen a solar array on a home or business?  

If a home or business has many solar panels on its roof, it means that they’re making a lot of electricity. Homes and businesses with a solar array generally produce 50 – 100% of their energy from the sun.  

Why are we so jazzed about solar panels? 

We’re excited that with solar cell technology, we’re able to turn sunlight into electricity.  

Why?  

Because the sun doesn’t run out! It’s a renewable energy source and is widely available for us to use.  

Other ways we get energy – oil, natural gas, and coal –which you may know as “fossil fuels” take a long time to form. There is a limited amount of these types of energy. They are not renewable, and once we use them, they’re gone!  

The Future of Solar Energy 

We know that the sun will be shining for billions of years. Now, with the help of solar technology, solar panels, and companies who install solar on homes – we can capture the sun’s energy and put it to use in our everyday lives!  

If you’re interested in learning more about solar energy for your home or business – reach out today! 

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