Greening Your Home Before You Go Solar

Energy efficiency means you are using less energy to do the same jobs. Using less energy is better for the environment and better for our wallets.

If you plan to go solar eventually, there is an added benefit in greening your home before going solar.

When you implement green energy practices in your home before going solar, you reduce your electricity consumption. Reduced annual electric consumption decreases the amount of electricity your solar panels must generate to match your household usage.

Remember – every home is different – these suggestions, cost estimates, and impact estimates and generalized. But they should do the trick to get you started and give you energy efficiency inspiration for your home.

In This Guide You’ll Find Information About:

  • Hot Water Heater Blankets
  • Hot Water Temperature Cards
  • LED Lightbulbs
  • SMART Thermostat
  • Attic Insulation
  • Attic Staircase Cover
  • Energy Efficient Power Strips
  • Low Flow Faucet Aerators

Get Access to your Greening Your Home Before You Go Solar guide here:

Energy Efficiency Home

Energy Efficiency Home Maintenance Calendar 

Having an energy-efficient home means you are using less energy to do the same jobs. Using less energy is better for the environment and better for our wallets.    

Like a regular check-up for your health, maintaining a home maintenance routine is essential for every house’s upkeep. Our Home Maintenance Calendar has an energy efficiency focus.   

If you plan to go solar eventually, there is an added benefit in greening your home before going solar.  

If you already have solar, completing additional energy efficiency measures can help you maximize your solar system and increase your return on investment!   

Spring  

 

  • Change your air conditioner filter – a dirty air filter causes the blower fan in the HVAC system to work harder to push air through. When it’s working harder, it’s drawing more energy, leading to higher bills. Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%!  
  • Trim trees – If your property has any trees, have them inspected by a certified arborist, who can check for signs of illness or any dead branches and catch problems before they escalate and kill a tree. If you have a solar energy system, identify limbs that may be shading your solar array. Plan to have those limbs cut back.  
  • Check for signs of critters nesting around your solar panels – Neighborhood animals are prone to nesting underneath roof-mounted solar panels. Many of our customers avoid the issue with the use of critter guards. If you don’t have critter guards surrounding your solar panels, you’ll want to check for any signs of life that may pose a threat to the solar array.  
  • Get your clothesline ready – air drying your clothes in the sun adds nothing to your utility bill!  

Summer   

 

  • Have air conditioner checked and servicedRegular A/C maintenance can extend your unit’s life and may reduce the need for costly A/C repairs. And, resist setting the air conditioner thermostat lower than usual to cool your house quickly
  • Switch out faucet aerators – for low flow to reduce summertime water usage.
  • Clean your solar panels (only if needed!) – solar panels that are clean ensure solar installations generate optimal electricity. All panels are designed for minimal maintenance; however, dust, pollen, leaves, and other contaminants often find their way onto the panel and soil the surface. For complete instructions, click here.   

Fall  

 

  • Seal cracks and gaps in windows and doors with caulk or weather stripping; replace if necessary.  
  • Swap old, drafty windows for more energy-efficient models 
  • Schedule an HVAC inspection in early fall before the heating season begins.  
  • Wrap insulation around outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated garages.  
  • Swap lightbulbs for LEDs – Heading into shorter daylight hours means you’ll be using the lights in your home even more. LED bulbs to use about 75%–80% less energy than traditional bulbs. Changing out 5 of your most frequently used bulbs for LEDs could save you up to $75 annually.    
  • Consider new attic insulation for the wintertime – If you have an unfinished attic, consider adding insulation. Adding insulation is the most accessible place to reduce your energy costs. To judge whether you need more insulation in your attic, measure the thickness of the insulation there. If it’s less than 6 inches of fiberglass or 5 inches of loose cellulose, it’s time to add more!   

 Winter   

 

  • Add a hot water blanket to your water heater – insulating a water heater that is warm to the touch can save you 7 – 16% on your water heating bill annually!   
  • Add an attic staircase cover – In many homes, poorly insulated and leaky attic access stairs provide an opportunity to improve comfort and save energy and money. You can air seal and insulate the attic stairs opening by building your own insulated cover box or purchasing a kit or pre-built package.   
  • Add a few energy-saving power strips   
  • Slow the escape of heat through glass windows – hang insulating curtains or draperies in front of windows to reduce the heat loss, especially at night   
  • Prepare for a storm – Consider solar battery backup if your home is prone to power outages or if you have critical appliances that need electricity in the event of a grid failure.   

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Women In Solar – Celebrating Women’s History Month

Third Sun Solar’s third hire was Cathy Gielty.   

In 2004 Cathy was living in an off-grid cabin in eastern Ohio. She had a background in environmental sciences, education, and an ethos to use less.  

When she applied to Third Sun Solar, so much of her background, education, mission, and values were in sync with the way Third Sun wanted to operate and grow. At that time, we knew that hiring mission-aligned allies would serve us well over time.   

And we weren’t wrong. Sixteen years later, Cathy remains the longest-standing employee at Third Sun Solar.   

She’s a dedicated Compliance & Accounting Manager and knows the company’s systems’ ins and outs better than most.     

Like Cathy, folks employed by Third Sun Solar share our core values of service, drive, reliability, and growth. Cathy is just one of many women at Third Sun Solar.  

March is Women’s history month, and this month we have been celebrating the Women in Solar here at Third Sun Solar, who are creating history in their roles in the solar revolution.   

And we aren’t just going to call out Cathy (even though Cathy is fantastic).   

Cheers to Women in Solar!  

Believe it or not – in the solar space, women are vastly underrepresented! According to the 2019 Solar Foundation’s Solar Census, women in solar makeup 26% of the workforce, compared to the US workforce overall, where they represent 47%    

And when you look closely, women often make up even less of the engineering, design, and installation teams in solar companies.   

We want to highlight our women in solar. Maybe they can serve as role models for young women interested in entering solar STEM or a technical career!   

Michelle Greenfield – Co-Founder and Owner/Operator   

For the past 20 years, Third Sun Solar founder and CEO Michelle Greenfield contributed tirelessly to solar advancement. These contributions include the increased participation & contributions of women in the solar field. Her leadership can be seen in many areas, as a contractor, policy advocate, and educator. Over the years, Michelle’s leadership has had a ripple effect. Her work has opened doors and driven female participation across the industry.     

This year Michelle was recognized as a top 100 Women Leaders – Real Women in Impact.   

As Michelle reflects on “building the architecture of the solar coaster,” – check out this video that covers a lot of that history – milestones, lessons learned, and how the solar field has developed in Ohio.   

Kathryn – Solar Assistant Designer   

Assistant Solar Designer, Kathryn Biggler. She’s a whiz at designing residential solar systems & is a Tesla Powerwall Pro.   

When Third Sun Solar become a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer in 2019 – Kathryn made it her mission to understand the ins and outs of this exciting, complicated, brand new technology. She knew this was important for the service of our customers and the service of other team members.  

Now anyone with a question about Tesla Powerwall (or solar batteries anything) comes straight to Kathryn.   

Jamey –  Solar Consultant 

Jamey’s 13 years of experience with Third Sun Solar qualifies her to answer any solar question you may have. She has had the pleasure of helping over 350 homeowners install solar while continuing to assist individuals daily in their solar journey.  

What motivates Jamey: knowing that her job is positively contributing to our green energy future 

“I love EARTH. Green, deciduous forest, cave, flora and fauna, waterfall, pond, bug, and animal earth. This is home. The place all living things share & the gift I feel compelled by a force beyond myself to protect. When Third Sun Solar advertised for an office administrator position 11 years ago, I jumped at the chance to apply.” Jamey says, “I saw this as an opportunity to create a career that aligned with my personal values. At the time, I knew nothing about solar except that solar was green and cool. But, I liked the way solar panels looked.”  

Not everyone comes to Jamey liking the way solar panels look, but at this point, she can make them look good to just about everyone.   

Find more of our women in solar this month on our social media pages. We’ll introduce you to more inspiring women. We hope you’ll follow along!   

 

Interested in getting in touch? Fill out the form below and we’ll give you a call.

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Solar Quote Checklist: Video Series

Each solar company will provide you with a unique solar quote. There is a lot to learn when you start out on your journey to get free solar quotes. However, there are several key pieces of information that should be consistent with each proposal you receive.  We know comparing apples to oranges can be difficult, so we’ve created a Video Series to spell it all out.

The presenter, David Zelasko, has been working with Third Sun Solar for over 5 years. Before working for us, David was a solar installer. David installed residential solar systems on rooftops across Cleveland, Ohio. Today, David works with homeowners on the regular. He listens to them talk about their goals and project ideas and puts together a solar quote unique for each of them.

The Solar Quote Video Series Contains

  1. Things to keep in mind when looking at the solar panel brands and models
  2. Considerations when comparing inverters
  3. Understanding various production factors – what math goes into the offset claim?
  4. A mini-checklist of 3rd party accreditation to screen for

Get Access to our Solar Proposal Video Series by signing up here:

Better Business B Corp

Better Business

March is B Corps month, and B Corps Month’s theme in 2021 is Better Business.  

We are celebrating what it means to be a Better Business! As part of this, we’re sharing that we ARE a B Corp and why our employees, leadership, and customers care!    

  

What is a Benefit Corporation?   

B Corps do business differently. They are for-profit companies leading a movement to use the power of business to solve our most pressing global challenges. B Corps meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability to all of their stakeholders. They are, therefore, better for the community, customers, and the planet.  

  

Why our customer’s & community care  

 

People First  

Being a B Corp means more than a certification. It means we put people first. We always consider our impact on our employees, customers, and communities because we believe business should be a force for good.  

  • We began to hire and review employees based on their commitment to the B Corp values (which overlap with our values).   
  • We became more transparent on our financials and metrics with the entire company.   
  • We raised our lowest-paid employees.   

Our customers and community care because we treat our employees well- it’s just that simple.   

Employees stay with us longer as a result. They represent our values and build a collective understanding of how to best serve customers. From the sales process through the project management process all the way through to installation and commissioning – our collective experience helps us better serve our customers.   

If you look at our reviews, notice how many of them mention our team members. Many even by name. Not to brag, but our team is excellent. They make a lasting impression on our customers and the communities they serve.   

Protect the planet  

B Corps care about the planet and future generations. We’re taking action to protect the planet. 

  • We had a zero-waste assessment from Rural Action and put those practices into play. We reuse package materials, compost in our office kitchen, and have signage on all of our waste and recycling receptacles.   
  •  We already produce nearly 100% of our electricity at our office from solar.    
  • Our product eliminates greenhouse gases, and we maintain our mission to accelerate the shift to clean energy.  
  • We purchase carbon offsets for our vehicle fleet.  

  

An Inclusive Economy

B Corps are businesses working to build stronger communities, more inclusive and equitable companies, and a healthier planet.   

Third Sun Solar is part of Amicus, a member-owned cooperative made up of many independently owned solar companies. This summer, Amicus launched a JEDI group (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity) to tackle inclusivity at our many solar companies.   

Third Sun Solar’s Chief Operating Officer, Roberta, leads the HR sub-group of the JEDI group.   

When asked about the work that the HR policy team is doing, Roberta says, “In the HR policy team, we are doing things like reviewing language and policies to create an inclusive and welcoming environment to retain and attract team members. We have a lot of good discussions and look at policies, job descriptions, handbook language, position postings, and all things HR with a focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.” 

As a company, we recognize that we have a lot more work to do in this area. The JEDI group is a launch point for that work. 

Collective Action  

B Corps are on a mission to do business better — and our collective impact is making a big difference! 

Our customers know that every dollar they spend is a vote for the direction they want to see the world go. By voting every day on businesses operating with people and the planet at the forefront, our collective impact can make a big difference.   

Together   

When we work together, we have the power to create something better. That’s why we believe in collaboration over competition.   

As a B Corp, we love to work and collaborate with other B Corps. We’re better together!  

At the time we were certified, we also had just begun discussions with some of our peer solar companies in other parts of the country about banding together (the birth of Amicus) and several of those companies that we really respected were B-Corps (Southern Energy Management, Namaste Solar, Sun Light and Power, Technicians for Sustainability.)  

When we were first certified in 2012, we were one of only 3 companies in Ohio. Now there are 14. So, we’re still pretty sparse in Ohio. We are happy to talk to any business that is interested in our experience or getting certified themselves.    

And like most years, B Corp Month coincides with Women’s History Month. 

In celebration this year, we would like to highlight co-founder, owner, leader, and mentor Michelle Greenfield. Like many consciously minded leaders, Michelle led the charge at Third Sun Solar to get the business B Corp certified.   

What why is important to her?   

Michelle says: “My mission in business has been not only to do our business (solar) but to show that all businesses are not evil, profit-hungry at all costs. When I was in college, oh so long ago in the 80s, this was a novel idea, and there were a few stand-out businesses that I identified that were doing their business and striving to do no harm. I have always held out that model as how I wanted to work.”  

  

  

  

  

 

 

Residential Home With Solar Installation in Northeast Ohio

Should I replace my roof before going solar?

We hear this question a whole lot: “should I replace my roof before going solar?

It is an important question. Many homeowners are excited to go solar and start shopping without considering the condition of their roof. The fact that you’re thinking about it now is an excellent sign that you’re planning ahead to make your solar installation a success.

We hope we can share some information with you that will help you determine how your roof life will factor into your solar journey.

Types of Roofs

The majority of our customers decide to have solar installed on their roof. Some choose a ground-mounted array, and others have solar installed on their adjacent garage or carport. For most residential solar installations, a roof provides the optimal conditions for a solar installation.

Asphalt Shing Roofs

Asphalt Shine Roofs are the most popular roof type in our area. They have warranties or shingle ratings anywhere ranging from 30 – 60 years – up to lifetime warranties.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are generally more expensive and have longer guaranteed lifespans than asphalt shingle roofs. This type of roof lasts so long that, typically, the paint fails long before the roof itself. If you have a metal roof in good shape – you can have solar installed on it. Metal roofs are great for solar.

Clay Tile Roofs

These roofs are beautiful and often designed to last a long time. Third Sun Solar does not install solar on tile roofs, but we have customers with clay tile roofs that opted for a ground-mounted solar array to preserve their clay tile roof’s beauty.

Determining Your Roof Life

If you still have the paperwork that came with the roof when it was last replaced, check there. These papers should give you an idea of how much life is left in your roof. But, just like tires on a car – the lifespan on your roof will vary with different conditions. Things like materials, sun, and how well it has been cared for all play into a roof’s lifespan.

We know this information can be challenging to track down. Many of us have not been living in our homes long enough to have had a roof replacement or don’t remember when someone replaced the roof last.

 

Identifying Common Roof Issues

Another option is surveying the roof, yourself. Disclaimer: Please be careful!

Some common types of roof problems are:

Missing shingles – easy to spot and one of the most common roof issues. Missing shingles leave a gap in coverage on your roof.

Water damage – inside your attic is a clear indicator that your roof should be inspected and fixed before installing solar.

Damaged shingles – these too are easy to spot. If the shingle is so worn down that it’s become exposed to sunlight, the shingle’s edges will curl, and the shingle will become discolored. This is a sign that it may be time for a new roof.

Inspection

If you are still unsure that your roof is in good enough shape after checking this paperwork and looking up at your roof, our next suggestion is to schedule an inspection. A roof inspector can do a roof inspection in person, and with some roofs, they can be done remotely. A roof inspector will give you an idea of the types of issues you will want to watch out for. They can also give you an estimate on when the roof might need to be replaced.

In some cases, there may be one area or another that can be spot fixed to ensure the roof’s integrity before a solar installation.

Why Roof Life Matters

You will need to have a good idea of your roof life before getting too far along in your solar journey.

Our solar panels are warrantied at 25 years. They are a long-term investment for your home – just like a roof.

We know this is a tricky piece of the puzzle. You’ve already decided that you’re going to invest in solar energy at your home. It’s hard to imagine paying even MORE to replace your roof.

We also know you are thinking and planning ahead.

Rest assured that if our team finds anything during our initial inspection that makes us think your roof may need to be assessed: we will let you know.

Once you have determined that your roof is in the appropriate shape, and will be set to last the same amount of time as your panels – it is time to put the planning into action and sign up for a free solar evaluation for your home!

 

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Power a Clean Future Ohio Celebrates 1st Anniversary

Power a Clean Future Ohio: Local Action on Clean Energy

This February, we celebrate the 1st anniversary of the launch of Power a Clean Future Ohio Power A Clean Future Ohio is a nonpartisan coalition that works with local leaders to develop and implement proven climate solutions.  

 

Power a Clean Future Ohio is committed to reducing carbon emissions throughout Ohio in big and small ways that make sense for each local community.  

 

This week, Power a Clean Future Ohio celebrates and uplifts its partner communities to make Ohio a source for good news on clean energy. 

 

Their social media has lifted up communities across Ohio that are doing crucial local work to bring meaningful change. Take a look 

 

  • Cincinnati, Ohio, was the first city to join the campaign and is poised to power its city government with a massive new solar array! Read more >  
  • The City of Lakewood, Ohio, has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2025. Read more > 
  • The City of Athens was the first Ohio city to declare a climate emergency and launch plans for its biggest solar project. Read more > 
  • The City of Euclid is leading the way with the installation of solar panels on top of their public library and city hall. Read more >  
  • ALSO, this past fall, The City of Euclid adopted a goal to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030. Read more >  
  • The City of #Dayton created a sustainability office to increase efficiency and alternative energy sources. Read more >  
  • Lancaster Ohio is implementing a step-by-step approach to addressing climate change in an economic way. Read more >  
  • The Village of Silverton, Ohio offers 100% certified renewable energy to residents. Read more >
  • The City of Lorain, OH: Lorain Port and Finance Authority is helping property owners with loans to finance renewable energy projects. Read more >  
  • Reynoldsburg City Schools is leading the way in energy efficiency in its 14 district buildings. Read more > 

 

In celebration of 1 year of the Coalition, the Power For a Clean future has asked that we answer 1 question:

 

Why is local action on clean energy so important?

Neighbors Building a Movement

The leaders, the solar adopters, have led the charge on clean energy within communities. Individuals decide to own their power, choose clean, renewable energy and start a community movement. Neighbors telling neighbors is hands-down the best way we have seen people getting the word out about solar energy. These local networks build momentum, local knowledge, and trust in new systems (like solar energy!).

Collaborative Partnerships & Working Together

Large solar projects are often collaborative – they require corporations, municipalities, and non-profits to push big projects forward. We see a lot of collaborative work between local partners leading to big solar projects in communities. This type of coordinated action positions forward-thinking communities to serve as models for other cities as they transition to clean energy.

Local Jobs

Here at Third Sun Solar, we employ our talented community members. As we grow, we get to hire more of them.

As a company born in Appalachian Ohio, we know the devastating effects unsustainable jobs have on our communities. We imagine a vibrant, thriving future for our region and know that clean energy plays a key role.

More than 3 million US workers are employed in the clean energy field. Solar Installer has been at the top of the labor statistics’ fastest-growing jobs for quite some time. Ohio must take local action to utilize this momentum to create jobs where jobs are needed.

We’re excited about Ohio’s clean energy future, and we know that local action is foundational to accelerating the shift to clean energy.

 

Solar home in suburban Cincinnati Ohio neighborhood

Can I Add More Solar Panels to My System? 

Can I Add More Solar Panels to My System?

A frequent question we get from our clients, new and old, is: “Can I add more solar panels to my system?

Imagine this: you’re a homeowner with a solar system. Your system has been working great for years You are happy that every day you feel like you’re making a difference  And you’re delighted to put your money towards an investment that adds value to your home and life.  

It’s the middle of summer, the sun is shining every day, and your system is producing the same amount of electricity as it has in years past.  But you notice – month after month – you’re paying more to your utility than you have in the past. What gives?  

Then you remember that hot tub you installed in your backyard last fall. You’re using more electricity now, and your solar power system is no longer meeting 100% of your household’s electric demand!  

What can you do?  You can add more solar power to your existing solar energy system! 

Sometimes our customers come to us knowing that their energy use will grow with time. They have a growing family. Sometimes they know that they are adding new appliances like pools or hot tubs a little down the line. Some even have big plans to upgrade their family fleet to all-electric vehicles in the coming years.  

Other families choose to size their system small on purpose, purchase what they can now, and plan to add more when they can later. 

And, what do they do when they’re ready to add more solar? Give us a call!  

Plan Ahead  

If you don’t have a solar energy system and anticipate adding more panels later down the line- let us know when designing your system. We will consult with you and select an inverter that will be compatible with those future energy goals.  

Are you considering battery backup? Let us know that when we’re designing or expanding your system. Solar systems with batteries require inverters that also charge the batteries and manage their energy output. Additionally, if you are thinking about adding home batteries, adding them at the same time you add panels to your system is a smart move.  

Inverter  

If you didn’t plan for expansion at the time of your initial installation, there is a chance you’ll need to upgrade your inverter to accommodate the addition.  

Space and location are other factors to consider when thinking about expanding your solar array. Is there available space left on your roof? Is it unshaded and unobstructed?  

Updates to Ohio Net-Metering  

When you went solar, it’s possible that Ohio’s net-metering rules wouldn’t allow you to produce more than 80% of your annual consumption. Your solar array may have been undersized to keep you away from the penalties associated with overproduction.

In 2020 Ohio’s net-metering rules were updated. In Ohio, through major, Public Owned Utilities, you can now produce up to 100% of what you consume in a year, making it possible for solar installers to get their homeowners to 100% offset without putting them at risk of those penalties.  

If you have solar now and are interested in expanding, we’ll work with you to understand how many additional panels you’ll need to make up for the energy your system isn’t generating for you right now. We’ll also make sure that you have enough available space to meet that need.  

Adding more solar panels – now or later – we’re here to help

We look forward to assisting you in determining the system size that meets your electricity goals. Whether you want to make additional upgrades to your existing system — or plan a smaller system now, with plans to expand later – we’re here to help you!  

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Solar Panel Installation on Home in Ohio

Solar Panel Installation – Common Questions

Solar Panel Installation is a hot topic in 2021. The solar investment tax credit has been extended. Prices have come down. But, shopping for solar isn’t always easy. We know you want products that make sense: economic sense, practical sense, aesthetic sense. You want to do your part but have concerns about payback and warranties. The last thing you want is a solar system that doesn’t do what you’re told it would. You want reliable products that last a lifetime, products with long warranties, and a solar installer that you can trust.  

Signing up for a solar evaluation can feel like a big step. To take some of the pressure off, we’ve compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions of 2020. Hopefully, some of the questions you have will be answered. And maybe having those answers will help you determine your next step in the solar journey.  

What are the current incentives for solar?  

In 2021 solar buyers will receive 26% back from their system’s full turnkey cost. 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 credit. After 2023, there will be no tax credit for residential solar panel installation. Commercial-scale solar projects will be eligible for a 10% tax credit from 2024 onwards.   

In 2021 Third Sun continues to offer homeowners the option of going solar for $0 down at install. In addition to that, we are excited to offer our customers the option of going 12 months with no solar payment.  

Solar stimulus? Additional incentives? Special solar incentives in Ohio? Special solar incentives in my community? Unfortunately, no. You’ve likely seen Facebook advertisements that make these claims. We aren’t fans of ads like those. We believe in relationships and want to earn your trust. Our work style is collaborative and our goal is to please you. We’ll start on the right foot by explaining all of the available solar incentives in Ohio clearly and transparently.  

How Does My System Interact With the Grid?  

When a solar-powered home is connected to the grid, you will store the excess power you create in the utility grid. The grid is like a big battery, which you charge when you have excess power and take energy from when you need more. In most cases, the utility company credits you for the extra power you produce (net-metering) and allows you to pull from the grid when you need it.

If I get a solar panel installation, will I sever ties with my utility?

Cutting ties with the utility company sounds so satisfying. A lot of folks come to us eager to sever their ties with the utility entirely.  We get it. We really do. 

The truth is that most of us are already tied in, and the efficiencies and economic benefits you get through net-metering outweigh the benefits of severing the tie completely. So, our recommendation is: always stay connected to the grid if you’re tied in now. 

How am I credited for the excess power I produce? 

Net-metering allows you to store the energy you produce in the electric grid in the form of credits. When you produce more energy than you need, excess electricity travels back into the power grid. Energy sent back into the grid goes to power your neighbors’ homes. The State of Ohio requires that the utility company credit you for the energy you produced and send along. These credits appear on your monthly electric bill to help you keep track.   

When your solar system is producing more than the energy you are using during sunny summer months, you bank up credits. During the winter months, your home uses more energy than your solar system produces, and you use up the credits you’ve earned.   

You will be charged for the energy you use from the traditional electric grid (when your solar panels aren’t producing). You can pay for that extra energy using the credits you accrue during times your solar system produces more energy than you are using.   

Read more about net metering here

What happens during a power outage?

During a blackout, the utility sends out repair crews to find and fix failure points. Linemen and women will be jeopardized if a local power generator (like a solar array) leaks power onto the grid lines. Therefore, utility rules mandate that solar arrays must automatically shut down in the event of a power outage. Solar panel installations have detectors that automatically shut down when they sense an outage to protect utility workers. 

Grid-tied solar systems with battery backup are ideal for anyone with unreliable power or anyone with appliances that wish to operate when the grid is down or anyone. This type of system ensures you have reliable access to electricity. And if the grid is down for a long time, a battery tied to a solar energy system will recharge using the energy you generate on-site. Additionally, this type of system allows you to use more of the solar energy you produce, minimizing your reliance on your utility, making your home truly self-reliant. 

Panel Placement 

When is a roof-mount the best option?

We’ve found over the years that roof-mounted solar systems are best for most homes. Most homes have the available roof space for the solar system. The roof provides an optimal location, tilt, and surface for a solar panel installation.   

When should I consider a ground-mount?  

There are some excellent reasons that a homeowner may choose a ground-mounted array over a roof-mounted array. Here are a few different reasons: 

  • Shade prevents the panels from receiving adequate sun exposure on the roof
  • There are too many obstructions (dormers, windows, chimneys) on the roof 
  • Only the north side of the roof is unobstructed (we do not recommend installing solar on northern facing roofs!)  
  • The roof is too small to accommodate a system large enough to meet the homeowner’s energy goals 

 Learn more about grid-mounted solar in this presentation by Solar Consultant Jamey Jones. 

Planning for Solar 

Do I need to get a new roof before I go solar?

The time right after a re-roofing is a supreme time to go solar.  

Are you anticipating the need for a re-roof soon? We recommend you re-roof before installing your solar energy system. The recommendation we make to our customers – make sure there are at least 15 years or more of life left in your system. The cost of a de- and re-installation of your solar energy system will cut into your return on investment and lessen the payback you see on the system.  

When should I reach out if I’m building a home? 

If you’re building a home, check out this blog about designing a home for solar. Information from this article will help you and your builder build a house with solar in mind. It also lists other considerations to keep in mind when designing an energy-efficient home.  

What happens to my solar panel installation if I move?

If you want to go solar but may move within the next 10-20 years – don’t worry! A solar panel system, on average, adds 4.1% to the average resale value. And as solar becomes increasingly popular, imagine what a differentiator providing your buyers with free electricity will be.  

Myth-busting 

Can I get a check from the electric company? 

Short answer – no. Any excess energy you produce will be given back to you in the form of credits on your utility bill. As of January 2021, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s rules requires utilities to provide you with energy credits for the energy you send back to the grid for you to use on future consumption of grid electricity. Not in the form of a check.  

Can I build a solar farm and make money?  

Ah, we hate to say “no,” but this one is a no, too. As the rules are written now, individuals cannot produce more than 120% of what they consume in a year. If you live on a big plot of land and want a really big solar panel installation, and want to sell what you don’t use to your utility for cash —  It’s just not possible to do this in the state of Ohio. Maybe someday!  

Calculating Your Return On Investment  

There are a lot of variables you’ll want to consider here – your available space for solar, your annual energy use, the rate you pay for electricity, the energy output of the solar panels you choose, local weather data. Our solar experts enjoy what they do. And they enjoy helping you understand these variables and program them in a way that you understand your payback. They aren’t looking to trick you or play games. Everyone’s variables are different, which is why we offer free solar evaluations to help you understand what you’re working with. We also offer an energy production guarantee to help you feel safe about the investment you’re making.  

 We’ve got folks at the office dedicated to taking your call. You can talk directly to us. Go ahead – give it a try!  

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Solar Power is Safe and Secure 

5 Reasons Why A Solar Power System Is a Safe Investment  

 

1.  The Sun Will Always Be There 

Something no one can deny: the sun will rise again tomorrow.  

Solar panels can still produce electricity on cloudy or rainy days, which is part of the reason solar works in Ohio 

Solar energy is better than other investments because it is an investment that relies on the sun showing up, not on people!  

2.  A Solar System Will Reduce Your Electric Bill

When turned on, your solar energy system will reliably produce energy for you. The solar power you make will reduce the amount you pay for electricity, an expense you knew you would always have. Turn around and put that money into something you own, and over time you will begin to see a payback on your investment.  

As fossil fuel’s full cost continues to rise, people increasingly see solar as the best hedge against rising energy prices. Solar power is the smartest and most secure pathway to energy independence.

3.  Solar Power Technology Is Tried and True

Today’s solar panels are tried and tested, well-engineered, have no moving parts, are aesthetically pleasing, and function well for thirty years and more.  

Solar panels have been around for quite some time and have proven reliability. Solar panels are a well-developed technology. 

4.  A Solar Energy System Is Tangible

When you purchase a solar energy system with Third Sun Solar, the solar system is yours. From the equipment to the power it generates – you own all of it.  

In fact, if you choose to finance your system, our lender does not even require a lien on your home because the equipment itself is an asset.  

The modules, the racking, the inverter, and the power it all generates has an inherent value. 

5.  Strong Installation and Manufacturer Warranties Back Your Investment

Warranties in the solar space may be confusing, but they are also through. We have broken down some of the most common types of warranties in the industry.  

Installer Warranties

Energy Production Guarente – Solar is a significant, long term investment. When you purchase a solar system from Third Sun Solar, we guarantee the energy production of the system that you bought for 5 years. You get cash back for the difference between the system as it was sold to you and what the system is producing. This, paired with the linear power warranties (described below), gives you the certainty that your investment will make energy just like you thought it would!  

Workmanship Warranty – At Third Sun Solar, we know that commissioning installers to come work on your roof, drill holes and run conduit can cause some nerves. That is why we warranty our workmanship for 20 years. And why do we trust our installers’ workmanship so much that we warranty it for 20 years? Because they’re part of our team. As a certified Benefit Corporation, we work a little differently than other solar installation companies. Our installation team attends company meetings and gets the same employment benefits that the rest of the team receives. Our folks stay with us longer as a result and have become experts at delighting homeowners with white-glove customer service.  

Manufacturer Warranties

Product Warranty – Product warranties protect you from defects in materials that may have happened during the manufacturing process. 

Through our Profession Installer status with the module manufacturers we partner with, we can offer our customers 25-year warranties on their solar modules. The product warranty promises that the workmanship and materials of the panels themselves will maintain their superior quality for at least 25 years. 

Linear Power Warranty – This ensures that solar panels will perform as expected for a set amount of time.  With our Profession Installer status, we can offer our customers a 25-year linear power warranty, too.  

 All solar panels slowly degrade over time. However, at 25 years, they are guaranteed to make between 90-80% (depending on module type) of what they made on day one.  With this higher warranted power and, thus, higher year-over-year yields, our customers enjoy greater ROI predictability. 

Find Security with Solar Backup 

With winter comes the reminder of the dangers of power outages. From the furnace to the fridge, keeping our homes powered is important to all of us. And, to some of us who have necessary medical equipment, keeping our homes powered reliably is especially important.  

When you go solar, you have the choice of adding solar batteries to your system. 

Grid-tied solar systems with battery backup provide the reliability and convenience of grid-tied, with backup power security when the grid fails.  

These systems send excess energy to the grid for credits, pull energy from the grid when the solar system is not producing, and have backup batteries that store power to use in times of a utility outage.  

Tesla Powerwall 

Tesla Powerwall charges depletes and recharges continually to keep a critical circuit of essential systems in your home up and running, no matter what. Powerwall detects grid outages and automatically becomes your home’s primary energy source. Through the Tesla App, you can manage your battery from anywhere. Powerwall receives free over-the-air updates, providing new features and improved performance over time.  

 

Your home is only a few simple and smart steps away from enjoying the security that solar energy provides. Contact us if you’re ready to start talking about solar for your home or business.