5 Solar Goals in the New Year

It’s this time of year you become flooded with content about resolution and goals. Much of this content has to do with health, fitness, and wellness.

Our intention with this post is not to add to that noise but instead, give you the opportunity to learn something new. Your goals and resolutions are up to you. Many of us have a little more time on our hands these days. What better goal could you set out to accomplish than to learn something new?

If solar is on your list this year – we hope this article can help you.

1. Educate Yourself About Solar Energy

How does it work? Is solar the future? Does solar energy even work in Ohio? What about in the Snow? Do I need batteries if I go solar?

There sure is a lot to learn. We speak with so many people every day who are just starting on their solar journey. Our eBook, Your Guide to Going Solar, is a reliable place to start for those who are just starting out. Download it here. 

If you’re interested in digging deep on a particular topic, check out our solar 101 webinar series. This list of webinar recordings is comprehensive and covers many frequently asked questions.

2. Keep Track of Your Energy Prices

It’s always good to reflect – especially on the money we spend. Look back at your energy prices over the last few years. Do you notice any changes in the rates that you are paying for your electricity?

Solar energy allows you to own your power instead of paying a varying, potentially increasing, monthly bill to the utility company.

We predict that between infrastructure maintenance and grid modernization over the next decade or two, energy prices will continue to rise. Escalating energy costs is a crucial factor to consider when evaluating a solar energy system for your home.

3. Understand Net Metering

Net metering is what makes residential solar energy systems so prevalent in Ohio. It’s a simple concept, but it’s new to most people.

Net-metering allows you to store the energy you produce in the electric grid in the form of credits. When your panels produce more energy than you need, excess electricity travels back into the power grid. You get credit for that energy. When you pull energy from the grid, when your panels aren’t producing energy, you can use those credits to pay for grid energy.

If you’re interested in understanding net metering better, you can read this blog or take a look at this webinar recording. In this recording from last year, Cleveland Ohio based Solar Consultant David Zelasko breaks it down, point by point.

4. Research the Financial Benefits of Solar Energy in Ohio

Will solar save you money? If you are on Facebook, you have undoubtedly seen those claims. If you have always wondered what the payback is, now is a great time to find out. The best way to understand is to get a custom quote for your home. We evaluate three main factors to bring you a custom quote:

  • Available roof or ground space
  • The annual electricity you use
  • Your budget for solar

We’re thrilled that solar energy is more accessible to more and more people in Ohio. As the market has grown over the past 20 or so years, so too have financing options. In 2021 Third Sun Solar offers customers new and improved financing options and an opportunity to have 12 months without payments on their solar energy system.

5. Get A No Obligation Solar Estimate

If you’ve always wondered if your home is a good candidate for a solar energy system – find out!

Most installers get pretty busy in the spring and summer months when the sun is high in the sky, and people are thinking about all the solar energy their roof could be capturing. Little do most know that wintertime is the best time to start planning for that spring installation.

Maximize your savings in 2021 by planning early and getting an install in time for Ohio’s peak sun days in spring, summer, and fall.

There is a lot more to find out…

That’s why we have resources available on our blog and our YouTube page. We know that sometimes it is easier to get questions answered by a real person. Feel free to reach out – we are just a phone call away- 877-OWN-SOLAR.

Happy new year to you and yours from the Third Sun Solar team!


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26 tax credit ohio solar installation

Solar Tax Credit Extension is Included in the Covid-19 Relief Bill

We are thrilled to announce the Extension of the 26% Solar Investment Tax Credit!  

The United States federal spending and tax extension package was passed by congress alongside the $900 Billion Covid Relief package last week and signed into law by the President on Sunday night. This package will bring huge relief to Americans who are struggling in the face of the pandemic. It also includes several critical extensions to the solar investment tax credit (ITC).  

What This Mean for Solar Shoppers and Customers 

The ITC dropped from 30% to 26% in January of 2020. The solar industry has been bracing for another step down in the (quickly approaching) new year. Just a few days away from the end of the year – solar shoppers who have not yet gone solar, or have not had their project installed–  have more time! 

With the Extension outlined in the stimulus bill, solar buyers will receive 26% back from their system’s full turnkey cost if installed before the end of 2022. So, solar projects constructed in 2020, 2021, or 2022 are now eligible for the full 26% ITC.  

Solar projects constructed in 2023 will be eligible for a 22% tax credits. After 2023, there will be no tax credit for residential solar installations. Commercial-scale solar projects will be eligible for a 10% tax credit from 2024 onwards.  

Tax Credit Law – Locations  

  • Original code for residential solar properties can be found in Title 26 Section 25D of the U.S. Tax Code
  • Original code for commercial solar projects can be found under Title 26, section 48 
  • Extension language for residential solar can be found in the relief bill on page 4915 
  • Extension language for commercial solar can be found in the relief bill on page 4908  

Clean Energy Growth 

We are excited by the inclusion of so many renewable energies in the bill. The inclusion of solar energy and so many clean energy alternatives in this bill will certainly spur tremendous growth and clean energy investment for years to come.  

The solar tax credit has been the most significant stimulus for residential and commercial solar that the industry has seen. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, since its implementation in 2006, the residential and commercial solar tax credit has helped the U.S. solar industry grow by more than 10,000 percent, with an average annual growth of 50% over the last decade alone.  

We expect to see solar industry professions keep their stance at the top of lists predicting job growth in the years to come. This Extension will undoubtedly help us deploy more solar energy more quickly across homes and businesses across the state of Ohio and beyond. Third Sun Solar and our partners across the country are excited to continue to deploy solar energy and supply a means of gainful employment to our communities in these times of economic hardship.  


To find out more about the Solar Investment Tax Credit, the Extension, and what it all means for your solar project, get in touch!  


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Santa Goes Solar: Case Study

All Santa & Mrs. Clause wanted for Christmas this year was to GO SOLAR. This holiday season Mr. & Mrs. Claus installed a 27.6 kW solar array at their personal home on the North Pole. They paired their solar purchase with the addition of four Tesla Powerwall’s to keep the Christmas lights lit and hot cocoa steaming hot when Northern Lights flash. These electric outbursts of solar particles often are the cause of grid failure at the North Pole.

Why Did Santa Go Solar?

This year Santa wanted to give a gift that could heal the world. And like a true Christmas Miracle, Ol’ Saint Nicholas discovered the wonders of Solar. He believed if he did his part in accelerating the shift to clean energy with a home solar installation, he really COULD begin to heal the world.

Like many folks, Kris Kringle has switched out all his holiday lights for LED’s. He knows that running lights year-round is an added household expense. “I’m not the Financial Manager at home,” Santa says with a Ho Ho Ho, “That’s my wife, Mrs. Claus.”

After undergoing a huge expansion of his personal holiday light display five years ago, which included the addition of an eleven-story fully lit Christmas Tree, the electricity bills began climbing. Mrs. Claus says: “I’ve been making a list of electric expenses and checking it twice. It was time that we started looking for an alternative to the way we’ve been doing things for the past hundred or so years. Of course, I will never get in the way of adding lights, candy cane machines, and additional tools in Santa’s home office. But when I saw the electricity rates begin to climb, I told Santa that we may need to look for alternatives.”

For Santa, his motivations for going solar were primarily environmental.

In the spirit of Christmas, Santa says that he’s most excited to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement. Santa recognizes his visibility and, as a public figure, is determined to comply with guidelines surrounding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the advancement of sustainable energy.

“I used to abide by the old adage: “Naughty kids get coal, Nice kids get solar panels!” but over the years, I’ve come to realize the bigger picture – all kids get Solar Panels.

“This year we’re experiencing some changes. We are having to walk further and further to find a decent ice-skating rink. It is harder and harder to recruit reindeer to fly the sleigh. And on the big night when Santa Clause comes to town, in some places of the world the air quality is so poor Rudolph’s nose can’t shine so bright.”

It is important to start sending the message now to kids, Naughty or Nice – they’re going to need to be a part of the solution!

Solar Incentives

When asked about incentives, Santa said that the United States tax credits did not apply in the North Pole. But he is glad that the US Federal Tax Credit for solar will be available until the end of 2021. Speaking from experience Santa says: “Even without incentives, it is still worth going solar!”

The Solar Installation…

Santa can recognize a specialty when he sees one. The solar installers weren’t the first humans to visit Santa and the elves over the years, but they have been some of the few.

He said he thought about asking the elves to design, permit & install the system, but between their lack of expertise in anything outside of small toy electronics and the backlog of holiday toy-making – it was worth inviting humans up to the north pole to install the solar energy system professionally.

Santa chose REC solar panels for their high-efficiency, durability and 25-year product warranty. He was also quite pleased with the black-on-black design, which he knows his out-of-town guests will find quite attractive.

Always looking to the future…

“We’re excited to have an electric powered sleigh of the fleet this year. And to be delivering solar panels to homes across the world. It’s an honor to do my part in creating a brighter future.”

“And don’t think that up on the rooftop I don’t notice who is else is doing their part, Santa is always watching!” he said with a wink.

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Third Sun Solar Athens Ohio Headquarters

20 Years of Back and 20 Years Forward, Solar in Ohio

20th Anniversary Celebrations Coming to a Close

2020 is just about over, which means that Third Sun Solar’s 20th Anniversary year is coming to a close. We have published blog posts, videos, photos and social media items all year long to illustrate our long and interesting history in the young and inspiring clean energy industry.

When Geoff and Michelle started Third Sun Solar in the year 2000, they had a dream to follow their passion for “right livelihood” – to start a business that aligned with their desire to prove that clean electricity production is possible, that environmental preservation and reducing pollution is imperative, and that there is an alternative to the status quo of buying electricity from large billion-dollar corporations.

From their first employee in 2002, to their current team of 35 and growing, the Greenfields have stood by those founding passions and inspired others to join them in the mission to Accelerate the Shift to Clean Energy. Third Sun Solar was one of the first in Ohio to build solar before net metering existed and when costs were over $10 a watt in the early 2000s. They have watched as costs have fallen over the years: $9 a watt in 2007, $7.5 a watt in 2010, below $4 by 2016, and now 2020 hovering around $3 a watt. With each drop in costs, solar has become more and more accessible to more of the population.

Business as a Force for Good

Third Sun Solar put its notion of “business as a force for good” as a public priority in 2012 when it became certified as a B Corporation – an expression of its commitment to not only being a profitable company, but also putting the planet and people on equal footing with monetary measures of success. The following year, 2013, the company hit the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies list for the 5th time in a row, proving that a company can do well by doing good.

In 2020, Solar Power World’s Top Solar Contractors listing ranked Third Sun Solar is the #1 solar installer in Ohio and #50 in the nation for lifetime kilowatts installed. With over $75 million in sales and more than 1200 projects installed, Third Sun is truly living out the founders’ dreams of proving that producing clean electricity from the sun is not only a possibility, but that it is a growing reality.

The momentum of 20 years of expertise and action is the foundation on which Third Sun stands poised and ready for the next 20 years.

Third Sun Solar’s long tenure in solar has given them a front seat on the “solar coaster”. They know what it means to ride the ups and downs of this emerging industry, subject to the changes in political will or lack thereof; issues of global supply and tariffs; and both lack of consumer knowledge and an emerging boom in solar awareness.

The next 20 years of solar and clean energy looks bright. 

The next 20 years of solar and clean energy looks bright. The industry has scaled to the point that costs are competitive with fossil fuel energy sources. It is no longer an environmental or an economic decision to go solar. It now makes sense on both counts. Soon, solar panels on homes, schools, businesses, and on rural farms will be as commonplace as air conditioning units or refrigerators are in our buildings. The market for solar power, while it has gone up and down over the last 20 years has been on a steady and consistent climb, with no indication of slowing the ascent.

As the solar coaster continues its upward ride, so will Third Sun Solar. In the unfolding of the next 20 years, expect to see the Third Sun team in more places around the region, making it even easier for people to take producing their own clean power into their own hands. There are exciting times ahead, for the company, the region, and the planet. The next 10 years have been called the “Solar Decade” and Third Sun Solar is ready to continue to be a force in the bright future of clean energy!


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Solar Business in Ohio

Solar Business in Ohio

Nancy Miller is the CEO and co-owner of Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics in Belpre, Ohio. Her business provides prosthetic and orthotic services in the Mid-Ohio Valley. They strive to return patients back to the activity level they desire from walking and moving to running, fishing, and hunting. Third Sun Solar has been proud to work with a mission-driven business, working as a force for good in the world.  

The Solar Journey

As a member of the Belpre Area Chamber of CommerceNancy first became interested in solar after hearing a presentation made by Luke Sulfridge with the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council. His presentation explained the free solar assessment process 

Nancy says “Our business, Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics, is eager to stay on the leading edge of technologyWe were the first in our area to request the free solar assessment which also included a quote on the serviceAfter the assessment, I inquired about the REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) grant process with Randel MonehemiusMr. Monehemius is the Business Program Specialist for the Ohio State office, Rural Development of the United States Department of AgricultureHe provided a list of solar companies, and I chose Third Sun Solar for a second quote.”  

What was the businesses motivation for going solar? 

 Nancy says: We are interested in being good stewards of our environmentClean energy is very important, and we are always exploring new technology and looking for efficient business solutions in all areas.”  

The solar journey for the business was straightforwardThey learned that, with the REAP grant and the Federal Tax Credit for solar, the investment in solar panels would be possible. Through the quoting process, they also learned that their location provided ample sun exposure.  

An obstacle they faced when going solar? Nancy says: There were several companies out thereEach quote takes timeAfter researching online, I selected a few companies that were close to our location and had solid experience.”  

When searching for a local solar installer, Nancy paid close attention to these key elements:  

  • Location of the solar company 
  • Strong references 
  • Experience of the contractor 
  • Price of the panels and installation 


These are great points for homeowners and businesses alike to keep in mind when choosing a solar installer. The physical structure of our businesses and our homes are often our most valuable assets. Choosing a solar installer to modify and upgrade these valuable assets is an important task. That is why we always encourage solar shoppers we work with to ask for references, look at experience, and make sure their solar partner will be there for them throughout the length of this long-term investment.  

What has the business liked most about the solar energy system – so far?  

Nancy says:  “We had a very good experience from getting the information needed to apply for the REAP grant to designJarrod Starr was very knowledgeable about the process and materialsWe also found confidence after our site visit by Adam BrownHe explained the cost and benefits about locating the panels on the roof vs our initial thought of locating on the hillside behind the buildingHe also helped guide us in picking out panels that would look good with our building. 

We were lucky with great weather for the week of installationJake and his crew did a nice job and were able to install without any disruption to our day to day business 

The power company, AEP, installed the bi-directional meter within a few days of the permit and we were able to turn on the panels the next day – which we were pleased to have 100% sunshine.”  

With the investment in Solar, Miller Prosthetics Orthotics is acting on their intention to be environmentally sustainable.

While offsetting 100% of their energy with renewable power, this energy is enough to annually offset:  

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from 3 passenger vehicles driven for 1 year 
  • CO2 Emissions from charging 1,839,656 smartphones  

Talk about big energy savings!  

Since our installation, we have had several comments from our patients, employees and community members on how they like our new solar panelsThe Solar Edge app is a great way to get immediate feedback on how much power the panels are producing. – Nancy Miller, CEO, and co-owner of Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics.  

If you are interested in learning more about solar, the REAP Grant, solar incentives, and more – reach out for a free, no-obligation solar assessment.  

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The Gift of Solar

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Despite the short winter days, this December holiday season is a time to think about light. The Winter Solstice on December 21st marks the day in the year when daylight starts growing longer. And, as we think about longer, sunnier days, we start to think about the upcoming yearWe map out our plans & set our goals.  

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that our plans and goals need to be flexible. We keep that in mind as we plan how to best invest our time and our money, and how to make smart choices for our home and family. 

This holiday season we encourage you to explore solar energy as a gift for your family.  

There are truly few gifts that continue to give for many years, the way rooftop solar panels doA solar energy system continues to pay off years later, while other investments you’ve made begin depreciating. A residential solar array lasts 30 years or more. And all along the way, it appreciates in value. Why not tap into the renewable energy of the sun and share a solar gift with your family? 

Just imagine if you could put solar on the home of your son or daughter – or your mom and dad. For decades to come your gift would pay for or reduce their electric bill. Unlike a new car, this gift keeps on giving for all of those years. And just like a car a solar energy system is beautiful and shines in the sun.  

Other advantages of choosing clean, renewable solar energy for your family this holiday season:  solar systems require very little maintenance. Solar panels also add to the property and resale value of your loved one’s home (4.1% according to a recent Zillow study) 

Most of all…

What will they be able to buy with all of the money they save? Or, if the gift is for your immediate family, what will you be able to buy with the money that you save? Perhaps it’s a new car for growing family, college tuition, oadding to retirement savings.  Regardless of what you choose to do with the savings, your solar investment broadens your horizonsAll while helping you live more sustanably and leave a legacy for generations to come.  

Get in touch  

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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Solar Panel ROI & Payback

Does solar really save money // Is solar really worth it?

These are some of the first questions we hear from folks who are just starting out on their solar journey. When talking about a technical product with a “payback” like solar power – it’s easy to get confused.

We’ve seen solar companies promise the world to gain business.  As Ohio’s oldest installer, we are committed to integrity. 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 small installers moving into Ohio. While we recognize that healthy competition is welcomed and is ultimately beneficial to consumers, we are also concerned about some of the deceptive and misleading claims.

We’ve broken down some of what we’ve seen below to help you:

  • $0 Down Solar – While there isn’t an initial out of pocket cost, obviously there will be monthly payments on the loan. Just like a car loan, if you choose a $0 down loan, your monthly payments will be higher than if you put some money down upfront. All of our clients are different, and some are ready to pay for their solar upfront and some choose to finance all or part of the system.
  • Free Solar – Some solar companies misleadingly use the word “free” but what they’re actually referring to is a long-term low-interest loan. Often, they offer what appears to be a very low-interest rate, but they secretly add 15 – 25% to the cost of the system to buy down the rate from their loan partner.
  • Ohio Statewide or Local “Program” – There is not a special statewide program or special grant or subsidy. Again, this misleading advertising is purposefully deceptive.

We are happy to answer any questions you have: questions about things you’ve read or seen. Or help you evaluate the difference between solar quotes.  Now that we’ve addressed some of the misleading claims about solar payback, here is what we know is true…


What is solar payback?

Solar systems are investments. Unlike many of the purchases we make – there is a return on the investment that you make when you purchase solar panels.

Think of it this way: right now you’re renting the electricity you use every month. You pay a monthly bill to your electric supplier. And, that is how it will be… forever. Solar energy systems give homeowners another option for how they purchase electricity. Owning a solar system is like owning your power. The money you pay each month goes towards the payment of the system that is generating the energy for your home. You will eventually break even on that purchase. And, from that moment forward the solar energy system you own will generate clean, free, and abundant solar energy for your home.

Your “solar payback period” is the time it takes to make back your initial investment in solar.


How do you calculate payback for solar panels?

Below we have listed the elements that you need to consider when determining the ROI or payback.

  • Total Cost of Solar Installation
  • Local + Federal Tax incentives that you will be able to take
  • Average monthly electric use
  • Estimated solar system generation
  • Electricity cost escalation over time

Do the math: add up the cost of your solar system and subtract your incentives to give you a true cost. Then add up your avoided electricity costs for 1 year. Divide the true cost by the avoided electricity costs. This will give you a ballpark idea of the number of years it will take for you to achieve payback. This number does not consider annual energy rate escalation, fixed rates on your utility bill, and other charges, however. So, it is important to take this equation with a grain of salt.

Keep in mind: any solar quote you receive will likely include a summary of your Return on Investment.

An payback on your investment, a smaller carbon footprint, and decades of clean solar electricity make solar a smart option for many homeowners.

The advice we hear our current customers give their referrals: just get a quote! There is no cost, there is no pressure, and you will get a lot of useful, detail-rich, and site-specific information.

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Home in Ohio with 8 kw Solar Panels

How Solar Energy Helps the Environment

The road to treading a little lighter is full of opportunities. From green habits like recycling, gardening, and carrying a reusable water bottle, all the way up to bigger projects like installing a solar system at your home. Utilizing solar energy is a big win for the environment. Going solar is a big step in the right direction if you intend to minimize your environmental footprint.

This post intends to help you understand the magnitude of carbon savings a solar system has on an individual or family every year.

Solar Case Study

Per capita carbon emissions

Source: Vox, What’s causing climate change, in 10 charts

The average American household produces 19.3 to 91.5 tons of CO2-equivalent annually. As those numbers have risen over time, familites increasingly consider their options for reducing their carbon footprint at home. Solar power has begin to stand out as a meaningful way to achieve that household reduction.

Take environmental impact information from a recent residential solar installation. Pictured above is an 8.3 kW solar installation in Duncan Falls, Ohio. This solar system was designed to offset the home’s annual energy consumption by 100%. The environmental impact of this solar system? Over 30 years the system will have saved the Carbon Dioxide emitted from burning 227 tons of coal. This is equivalent to driving the perimeter of the United States 48 times. Or, preserving 268 acres of forest. This solar system demonstrates how residential solar is good for the environment.

What other savings does this system include? Over the lifetime of their system, will save the homeowners over $16,000 in utility savings.

Fortunately, solar systems appeal to both our idealistic and pragmatic motivators. Sustainability is often defined as where beneficial environmental impacts meet with cost savings. Cost savings is a cornerstone many of us consider when making adjustments that benefit the environment.

Solar and the Environment Myth Busting

There are lots of solar myths out there. Are solar panels bad for the environment? Does it take more resources to produce a panel than that panel will produce in its lifetime? The simple answer is no.

The materials used in obtaining and manufacturing solar cells and modules is a hot topic. And anyone who is considering going solar for environmental reasons will look critically at the materials used in their energy choices. As with anything these days – do your research. Choose an information resource that you trust and ask questions, read, and understand the latest news and technology. Much has been “green-washed” or made to look sustainable when it’s not- over the decades. So, it’s good to look at sustainability claims with a critical eye.

  • Embodied Energy – How many years will a solar module need to be generating energy to offset the energy that went into mining the raw materials, transporting, manufacturing, etc.? About 2 years on average. Panels usually have a 30-year design life, 25-year warranty, some last longer. Solar Panels will net out more energy than was used in production.
  • Supply Chain – rare earth minerals exist in many of the electronics we use every day. Solar panels are not exempt from this. However, comparing solar panels against the standard energy utility, in the big picture we believe that fossil fuel resources have a dirtier supply chain than solar. Do your research, compare, dig deep and we think you’ll agree.

The Environment + Your Home

There is a whole lot you can do – from daily habits to big changes to your home – to be greener. Simple things include biking to work instead of driving, buying locally grown food, and remembering to turn your lights off and thermostat down when you leave for work in the morning. Bigger changes might include replacing your windows, adding insulation, or adding solar panels to your home. Wherever you are– we’re glad you’re taking the time to think about changes you can make to support the shift to clean energy. Reach out f you’re interested in learning more about the environmental and cost savings potential at your home with solar.


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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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