A Solar Champion in Cincinnati

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

Solar in Cincinnati

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

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

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

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

Solar for the Climate

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

A Pioneer

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

What Damian Learned

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

What He Likes Best

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

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

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

Advice for those shopping for solar

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

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

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

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


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

Solar, Corrupt Utilities and Ohio State Representative Larry Householder

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

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

The headlines are just the beginning…

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


This is a big deal for solar

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


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


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


How will this story end?

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



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


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Third Sun Solar Featured on 2020 Top Solar Contractors List Solar Power World

Third Sun Solar Featured on 2020 Top Solar Contractors List Solar Power World magazine’s annual list includes Athens, Ohio based solar installer

Athens, Ohio, July 22, 2020 – Third Sun Solar, Ohio’s leading full service residential and commercial solar installation company has been once again named on the Solar Power World Magazine’s Top Solar Contractors of 2020 list. Every year Solar Power World magazine releases industry information from hundreds of national solar installation companies. Companies are categorized by state, service (EPC contractors, development, construction/installation, electrical work and/or rooftop specific installations) and market.
Third Sun Solar installed has 21,237 kW of solar for more than 1,000 clients over the past 20 years and is ranked #1 in in Ohio and #50 in the nation by the Solar Power World Top Solar Contractors in 2020 for lifetime residential solar total installed kW. The company’s 2019 total installed kW ranks them at #233 on the national list that includes all companies serving all service types.

“It is great that the Third Sun Solar team has ranked again among the top solar contractors in the nation” Said Geoff Greenfield, President and Co-Founder of Third Sun Solar “Ohio has tremendous potential to harness solar energy and our ranking is testament to Ohioans’ growing interest and eagerness to invest in clean energy technology.”
2019 was one of Third Sun Solar’s busiest years. The company installed 2,352.8 kilowatts of solar across the state of Ohio and in neighboring states and includes a growing number of battery storage projects. In the past 20 years Third Sun Solar has installed 21,237 kilowatts of clean energy. These solar projects are a mix of applications serving residential, commercial, non-profit, agricultural, industrial and small businesses clients.

Due to COVID-19, the company’s 2020 kW installation numbers were impacted when Third Sun elected to pause installations for the safety of staff, customers and the public. When installations began again in May, Third Sun had completed a robust COVID-19 internal protocol complete with mask-wearing mandates, handwashing stations among other precautions. Persevering through this historic pandemic, Third Sun has found new ways to connect with customers and innovate by adding energy storage solutions to their list of offerings. The company expects to make up for lost time and finish the year with an even larger number of installed solar than 2019, as they pursue their mission of Accelerating the Shift to Clean Energy.

About Solar Power World

Solar Power World is the leading online and print resource for news and information regarding solar installation, development and technology. Since 2011, SPW has helped U.S. solar contractors — including installers, developers and EPCs in all markets — grow their businesses and do their jobs better.

Solar Proposal Checklist

Free Solar Quote Checklist

Each solar company will provide you with their own 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 checklist of items you need to watch out for when you’re considering which solar company to hire.

Watch the webinar recording here. 

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 every day. He listens to them talk about their goals and project ideas and get fits them with a solar quote unique for them. Take a look at some of David’s projects here. 

Our Checklist 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

Download our Solar Proposal Checklist here:

New Home with Solar Panels in Athens Ohio

Solar Case Study: A Legacy of Environmental Leadership

Bruce and Hylie Voss have been long term environmental advocates. When they moved to Athens three years ago, they had the opportunity to do a solar project on their home. They installed solar in January of 2019 and have been harnessing the sun’s solar energy ever since.   


Why Solar?   

Hylie’s parents, Mary Anne and Don Flournoy have been longtime Third Sun customers, supporters, and advocates. The Flournoys were in the first wave of Third Sun Solar’s customers and had solar installed on their home in 2006. For Bruce and Hylie, it seemed natural to continue that legacy. When it was time to build their home, they wanted to incorporate solar into the construction process from the ground up.   


Why Now?   

Three years ago, the Voss’s moved to Athens from Texas. The environmental momentum in Athens is different than Texas. Bruce says: “It was great to come into a community that was aggressively promoting science and we felt that we needed to do our part.”  


Additionally, The Voss’s were excited by the sleek technology, which has improved in performance and aesthetics since Third Sun’s early installations.  The panels on their home are matte black and more subtle and efficient than the original panels that Hylie’s parents had installed back in 2006.   


What did they learn?    

As a new build project, they found benefits in starting conversations with Third Sun in the building phase. They were able to ensure they had enough roof space and a plan for where the lines would go. They worked with Athens based Bart Kasler Construction, who was instrumental in helping them to make sure they were building with the panels in mind.   


Even with the pre-planning, the solar panels weren’t put on for 6 months. Why? It was a new house so they wanted to carefully consider what their energy use would look like to determine the size of the system.  The data gathered during those 6 months proved to be an accurate sample of their annual energy usage. A little over a year later, the system is producing exactly as predicted. Their Solar Consultant, Jamey Jones, has been with Third Sun for 12 years and has lots of experience sizing solar energy systems for existing homes and new build projects.   


What has been the best part?    

Bruce said: “Anyone who comes to our home often asks about the panels – is the system doing what you want them to do?”  They are excited to share information and their journey with others.  


What obstacles do others face when considering solar?   

Solar is still a long-term payback and there aren’t immediate returns on the investment. If you aren’t going to be a long-term resident in one place, solar may not make as much sense for you.  However, if you plan to be living for a long time in one place – both the financial and environmental payback make going solar an easy choice.   


Like Third Sun, the Voss’s feel that the need to transition to a clean energy economy is vital. Any step our community members can take in that direction is important. 

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

Re-Roofing & The Solar Tax Credit

Going solar is awesome – and one of the early steps on the path is to decide if you want to re-roof before solar or wait Solar panels last for many years. They are warrantied at 25 years and often last 40+ years. Doing the roof work now or removing and reinstalling for a re-roof down the road deserves careful consideration and every one of our clients makes their own decision and we are here to provide accurate information along the way.  We are often asked “if we roll the re-roof into the project can we get the tax credit on the whole thing”?   Read on for what we tell our clients on this subject.

Upfront Tax Disclaimer

We are not tax professionals & this post does not constitute professional tax advice or guidance. We have been in the solar market for 20 years, so we are sharing our expertise on solar. But ultimately the decision to take the cost of your re-roof on the Investment Tax Credit form is a choice between you, your family and your tax professional.

At this time one of the largest incentives for solar is the federal Investment Tax Credit. The investment tax credit, otherwise known as the solar tax credit will allow you to deduct 26% of the cost of installing a solar system from your federal taxes in 2020. It drops to 21% in 2021 then down to 0 for homeowners after that.

Can a taxpayer include the entire cost of a new roof in conjunction with the solar panels?

The answer: No

Don’t listen to any contractor or solar installer who tells you differently. We don’t want your family to be audited by the IRS. And we especially don’t want you or your family to have to repay the ineligible tax credit, plus interest, especially when you aren’t expecting it.  While we have been around for twenty years earning our trustworthy reputation, we are sorry to see a growing trend of new “solar entrepreneurs” that are willing to cut corners on their integrity along with the quality of their work.  Third Sun Solar will do neither.

Tax regulations can be tricky to understand for those of us who haven’t studied the IRS code. That’s why we’ve taken the bits only relevant to roofing and re-roofing. We take a deep dive here.

The section pertaining to eligible expenses (Sec. 25D) explicitly states:

“Qualified solar electric property costs.

Qualified solar electric property costs are costs for property that uses solar energy to generate electricity for use in your home located in the United States. No costs relating to a solar panel or other property installed as a roof (or portion thereof) will fail to qualify solely because the property constitutes a structural component of the structure on which it is installed. Some solar roofing tiles and solar roofing shingles serve the function of both traditional roofing and solar electric collectors, and thus serve functions of both solar electric generation and structural support. These solar roofing tiles and solar roofing shingles can qualify for the credit. This is in contrast to structural components such as a roof’s decking or rafters that serve only a roofing or structural function and thus do not qualify for the credit. The home doesn’t have to be your main home.”

When you go online, you’ll find different opinions interpreting the question posed.

Below we’ve done some research to debunk some of the biggest arguments for including the re-roof cost when you take the solar investment tax credit.


Problem 1: While the current iteration of the IRS code is not vague, past iterations have been.


The eligible expenses section reads:

“Some solar roofing tiles and solar roofing shingles serve the function of both traditional roofing and solar electric collectors, and thus serve functions of both solar electric generation and structural support. These solar roofing tiles and solar roofing shingles can qualify for the credit. This is in contrast to structural components such as a roof’s decking or rafters that serve only a roofing or structural function and thus do not qualify for the credit.”


These sentences were not included in past versions of the code from prior years. However, they are now. The last sentence clearly states that structural components of a roof do not qualify for the solar investment tax credit.


Problem 2:  Just because someone successfully claimed the tax credit for a wrong amount and didn’t get audited, doesn’t mean they were correct in doing so.


The IRS form requires no proof of purchase, receipts, contracts or invoices to prove how much you spent or what expenses were for. The form itself makes it easy to get away with anything. So, many people do. We don’t advise doing this!


Problem 3: Using the logic that  “the roof supports the panels, therefore they must qualify,” doesn’t work…. your entire house could qualify then, too, right?


You can’t have a roof without a house. So could you build a house, put solar on it, and claim it all as the solar tax credit?


In Conclusion: trust your experts, not someone trying to make a sale

Is the person telling you to use the solar tax credit for your roof a salesperson wanting your sale?

If it’s someone who just wants a sale, this exhibits low integrity. It’s a selfish approach and it is not based on facts, is not in your best interest, and probably says a lot about who you are dealing with. While it would be nice to be able to take the tax credit against both costs, they aren’t eligible legally. Third Sun Solar can point you to the appropriate form, but how you fill it out is between you and your tax professional. In short, we are not tax professionals and do not offer tax advice. We encourage you to speak with yours to understand how you plan to use the solar investment tax credit.


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Buyers Guide

Third Sun Solar has been helping homeowners and businesses in Ohio and surrounding states since 2000. The shift to clean energy is accelerating quickly as costs have gone down and solar efficiency has gone up.  In most places in the world, solar is now less expensive than any other electric source!  

The goal of this guide is to help answer some questions you may have as you begin your solar journey. Help us achieve our shared mission to accelerate the shift to clean energy! 

Misleading Ads  

Many of you have been asking about the different ads you see on Facebook, and if we offer the same. We’ve addressed some of the most common questions we get below.  

  • Free solar – Some solar companies misleadingly use the word “free” but what they’re 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. It’s important not to assume that a lower rate is a better deal, as the full turnkey cost of the system is likely to be higher plus the lifetime cost of interest payments.  
  • Money back when you go solar  There is no “special program” or government issued solar stimulus program. To receive money back when you purchase your system, you’re simply borrowing more money than a solar system costs and getting some of it back. 
  • New local incentives are making solar more accessible now – The truth is, there aren’t any local or state incentives for solar in Ohio, and that’s the way it’s been for a while now. In fact, recent legislation has taken aim at making solar even more inaccessible. While this legislation didn’t affect the economics for residential solar, it’s an indication of the priorities of our state government. Until 2021, the Federal Tax Credit for solar remains available to homeowners and stands as the largest cost savings to homeowners. We aren’t sure if there will be state or federal incentives on the horizon after that, which makes now the perfect time to take advantage of what is available 

We could offer a lot of what you see advertised online, but we pride ourselves in making sure our customers are successfully set up for as many true tax credits as possible.  We advise our clients to work with their tax professional to determine their credits. We would never want to see any of our customers set up for negative tax audits. 


The Research Stage 

Know your options. One of the best parts of the solar market right now is that there is a lot of information available to help you weight all of your options.  

  • Research online Check for reviews on Google, Facebook, Solar Reviews and the Better Business Bureau. Look for any complaints. Consider if the company has a certified electrician on staff, which you can find out here. Consider how long the company has been in business and if they’re likely to be around to honor their warranty.  
  • Solar is visible if you have friends or neighbors who own a solar system, ask them where they got it! How has their experience with the system been so far? How was the company the selected as an installation partner?  
  • Ask questions Solar Consultants are trained solar educators. Ask as many questions as you need before you make the commitment. If a potential installer has difficulty or isn’t willing to give you clear answers to your technical or logistical questions, we recommend getting a second opinion 

Solar Payment Options  

We can help you choose the option that best works for you: cash purchase, conventional financing, or a special solar loan.   

Solar Loan

We work with specialized solar loan providers such as the Clean Energy Credit Union and Mosaic.  These lenders use just the solar equipment as collateral and do not secure the loan with your home equity.  They are fast and easier to work with. 

  • Multiple term options for repayment, with a 25+ year warranty for solar 
  • Take advantage of tax credits to reduce price of system 
  • No prepayment penalty 
  • Solar is considered an asset to house, reflected at resale and property evaluation 

Cash Purchase

Reap the rewards of energy generation for the lifetime of the installation when you purchase your solar energy system upfront.  

Cash purchase is always available to customers. For homeowners equipped to pay for their system up front, cash purchase has the highest return on investment. 


The investment tax credit, otherwise known as the solar tax credit will allow you to deduct 26% of the cost of installing a solar system from your federal taxes. This is about a $4,000 – $8,000 average savings for homeowners who go solar in 2020.   

The solar tax credit will remain at 26% for solar systems completed and placed in service before December 31, 2020. The tax credit will be reduced to 22% in 2021. After 2021 there will be no solar tax credit for residential customers. However, a 10% credit for commercial entities will remain.   

Ready to Go Solar?

Call today for a free consultation or solar home evaluation

(877) 696-7652

Or, fill out this short form and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible. 

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Zero Down Solar: The Real Deal

Recently we added one of our customers electric bills featuring a $0.00 balance due on our Facebook page. This isn’t unusual for our customers, certainly during the spring, summer, and fall months. We got quite a lot of confusion regarding cost from our fans. They had some questions about Facebook ads they had been seeing. So, we wanted to take some time to address some of the concerns that we’ve heard.

The Truth About $0 Down Solar

A $0 down solar loan is a real thing, but it doesn’t mean that the solar system is free.

A zero down loan allows homeowners to finance the full cost of the solar system without making a down payment. 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. As with any loan, the amount of interest paid goes up based on the amount you borrow and the length of the loan.  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.

We can help you choose the option that best works for you: cash purchase, conventional financing, or a special solar loan.  Conventional financing (typically a home equity line of credit or refinancing your mortgage+ solar together) is the absolute best source of financing.  This option often has the lowest rates and the added bonus of tax-deductible interest (consult your tax advisor to make sure this works for your personal circumstances). We also work with specialized solar loan providers such as the Clean Energy Credit Union and Mosaic.  These lenders use just the solar equipment as collateral and do not secure the loan with your home equity.  They are typically faster and easier to work with.

If you’re interested in learning more about loan offerings, just let us know! Learn more from Solar Consultant David Zelasko. In this video, he explains the different types of solar loans, what makes solar loans different, and various partners we work with.

Three factors determine the rate you get on your solar loan:

  1. Your Credit Score – as with any borrowing, the lender assesses risk based on your credit history.
  2. Loan Term – the longer your term the lower your monthly payment. You’ll find this is the same as most loans.
  3. Solar Contractor – this isn’t because certain solar installers get better rates. Solar installation companies typically “buy down” the interest rate by paying more to the financing company to be able to offer that rate. That cost comes back on the customer in the form of a higher project cost.

But What about “No Cost Solar” and “New Special Programs”?

You may have seen some advertisements on Facebook advertising “free solar” or “No Cost Solar”. Sound too good to be true? Yeah, it is.

Some other 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. It’s important not to assume that a lower rate is a better deal, as the full turnkey cost of the system is likely to be higher plus the lifetime cost of interest payments. We believe that these advertising tactics are misleading and bad for solar buyers. We promise to work with our clients and provide accurate information so they can choose to harness the clean energy of the sun based on what works for them.

No Statewide Program

Many of these same solar companies and advertisements imply that $0 down solar is a statewide program or some special grant or subsidy. Again, this misleading advertising is purposefully deceptive and not the way we choose to do business. Loan options vary from solar company to solar company. The various finance partners have different programs and different rates (and different hidden fees baked into the price). Most solar installers in Ohio offer $0 down loans. Like them, we can offer you zero money down with any of our term loans – often a great option for those that want to go solar but don’t want to tap into home equity or savings.

‘Predatory and harmful’: Misleading solar ads touting 100% free panels and fake stimulus programs spread on Facebook as the coronavirus upends door-to-door sales

Check out this article by Business Insider for more specifics on misleading advertisements in the solar industry. 

Choose a solar partner with integrity who you can trust. For a checklist of tips we recommend when choosing your solar installation partner, check out this How To Choose a Solar Installer webinar recording. 


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Our 20 Year Workmanship Warranty

Solar Warranties

Any home improvement such as a roof replacement or a remodel typically has a “workmanshiwarranty” covering the quality of the work done. This promise from the contractor that they will install things correctly is typically 2 years. In the solar installation business, warranties often range from 2-5 Years, sometimes up to 10.


Quality, safety, and performance are the focus of our clients. We understand that. They choose their solar installer carefully as most installations involve both high voltage electrical work that must be done right. Installed correctly, modules must be securely attached to the roof while maintaining a durable 100% water-tight seal.


Third Sun’s 20 Year Workmanship Warranty

Our mission is To Accelerate the Shift to Clean Energy. In order to give our clients the confidence to take control of their energy future by going solar, we are removing any concern about our workmanship with a 20-year workmanshiwarranty.


We are able to offer this and stand behind it. How?  Only because we have already spent 20 years honing our craft. All of us at Third Sun Solar want your solar experience to be easy and worry-free. We have worked hard at selecting the best equipment and then sending the best technicians and licensed electricians to your home to install the best solar system possible.


Now in our twentieth year of business, we are rolling out our 20-year workmanshiwarranty to give you the confidence and peace of mind to go solar.


Tips for Choosing a Solar Installer


Birthday Month – 20 Years in Business

For Third Sun Solar… It’s birthday month!

How fitting that approaching the Summer Solstice, 20 years ago this week, founders Geoff and Michelle Greenfield took the ultimate plunge. Third Sun Solar, a budding dream of the Greenfields, was incorporated as an LLC in June of 2000. Inspired by long sunny summer days, the need for electricity at their rural off-grid home and neighbors who were interested in going solar themselves- Third Sun Solar was born.  It is for that reason that we celebrate this month!  

Since 2000, Third Sun has installed over 23 MW of total renewable power, mostly solar, which produces over 26.5 million kilowatt-hours of emission-free power every year. As a result of Third Sun Solar’s work, 39 million pounds of CO2 emissions are avoided as customers switch from using utility power to their own clean power systems.

The company is truly fulfilling its long-time mission to “Accelerate the Shift to Clean Energy”. 

In addition to clean energy metrics, Third Sun fulfills another dream set out by the founders back in 2000: to use business as a force for good. As a Certified Benefit Corporation, Third Sun Solar is held accountable to people and the planet. Whether purchasing carbon offsets for our vehicle fleets or supporting the non-profits who are doing important work in our communities, we believe that to see the clean energy future of our dreams, businesses must do good in the world. Learn more about our B Corps status here. 

Looking Forward: Announcement  

To celebrate we are instating a 20-year workmanship warranty at no cost for customers, the longest workmanship warranty for solar in Ohio. Why 20 years?  As Ohio’s longest standing solar installer, we’ve proven to the community that we’re in it for the long haul. We’ve seen a lot of progress in the past 20 years & we will be here until we see the clean energy future that we dream about. 

Any home improvement such as a roof replacement or a remodel typically has a “workmanship warranty” covering the quality of the work done. This promise from the contractor that they will install things correctly is typically 2 years and in the solar installation business often ranges from 2-5 Years, sometimes up to 10.
We understand that our clients are focused on quality, safety, and performance, and they are choosing their solar installer carefully as most installations involve both high voltage electrical work that must be done right and securely attaching the modules to the roof while maintaining a durable 100% water-tight seal.

Check out our upcoming webinar: How to Choose a Solar Installer to learn additional elements to look out for when choosing an installer in addition to warranties and company longevity 

Looking Back: The History of Solar in Ohio  

Since January, CEO Michelle Greenfield has been reflecting on cornerstone projects from the past 20 years. She’s woven together blogs, photos, newspaper clippings, and stories. These pieces of history reflect the changes in the solar market that paved the way for solar as we know it today.  These items are listed below – check them out! 

Our goal in sharing this history is to celebrate how far we have come and recognize how the current solar opportunity is built on foundation laid in the past. 


  • 2000 – The Founders Leap. 
  • 2000 – Green Living Magazine- Greenfield home feature.  Read More> 
  • 2001 – The state of Ohio institutes net metering.  Read More> 
  • 2002 From 2001 to 2004 Third Sun Solar partnered with the Foundation for Environmental Education to install 35 systems on schools throughout the state. The school featured, Granville Elementary, and had a special ribbon cutting and solar celebration with then-Congressman Pat Tiberi. Read More> 
  • 2002 – Michelle Greenfield appointed to Green Energy Ohio (GEO) Board of Directors where she floated the idea of GEO becoming a statewide organizer of the National Solar Tour, which was organized along with the American Solar Energy Society, on the first weekend in October every year.  Read More> 
  • 2002 – Third Sun used to install wind! Check out this 10kw Bergey wind generator that was installed on a 120-foot tower at Glacier Ridge Metro Park in Plain City, Ohio. Read More> 
  • 2003 – Students participate in a solar installation at New Albany High School, on a path that connects the football stadium with practice fields. Read More> 
  • 2003 Ohio Magazine highlights the Ohio Solar Tour, organized in the years prior to 2003 by Michelle Greenfield, and then adopted by Green Energy Ohio as an annual event. Read More> 
  • 2003 – In 2003 Third Sun Solar moved to Ohio University’s Innovation Center, which provides office space and business assistance to emerging regional technology businesses. Read More > 
  • 2005 –  Third Sun Solar participated in an all Ohio collaborative effort to install a net-metered solar power system on the coach house of the Governor’s residence in Bexley. Read More> 
  • 2006 -Third Sun Solar led a community effort to install 42 solar panels on the Athens Middle School. Read More> 
  • 2006 –Third Sun used to install hot water systems. Read More> 
  • 2006 – In 2006 when homeowner and science teacher David Carpenter hired Third Sun to install his 4.8 kW system, he was on the cutting edge for homeowners. The cost of that system would have been $44,200 ($9.20 per watt)  Read More> 
  • 2007 – Governor Strickland visits Greenfield Home.
  • 2008 – A group of 10 homes in Arbor Village, an affordable housing development in Washington Court House, Ohio, became the “largest collection of solar homes in the state”. Read More> 
  • 2008 In 2008, Mathews had moved to their new building on Columbus Rd. and decided to install solar to help cut their energy costs as well as add clean energy to their business. The natural partner was Third Sun.  “I still have a letter from Russ from 2000, confirming that our business was now insured. We are still with them 20 years later!” — Geoff Greenfield, Co-Founder and TSS President. Read More> 
  • 2008 In Akron, Ohio, the METRO Rapid Transit Authority officials wanted to be leaders in both alternative transit and alternative energy. Read More> 

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