Net Metering for Solar in Ohio  

In sunny peak months in Ohio, solar systems often produce more energy than a home can consume. Have you ever wondered what happens to this excess electricity? Or how you, the homeowner, benefit from the extra energy your solar energy system produces? Net Metering is the process that accounts for this difference in production & use. 

Net metering allows you to store 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 that energy you produced and send along. These credits appear on your monthly electric bill to help you keep track.  

During sunny summer months, when your solar system is producing more than the energy you are using, 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 take 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 is producing more energy than you are using.  

Why is net metering important?

Net metering increases the economic benefit of solar power by crediting you for the power your solar energy system produces.  The amount of energy you produce and use will vary over the course of the year. Net metering helps you account for this difference by crediting you for the excess electricity your panels produce so you can use it later. 

Your utility benefits from net metering because electricity is generated so close to where it is consumed. This diminishes the amount of electricity lost when power is transmitted across miles of wires. Additionally, it helps reduce strain on the grid during peak demand times: like on hot, sunny days.

Will I receive payment for the excess energy I produce?  

You’ll get credits to be used on an annual basis to offset the cost of electricity that you take from the grid during times when your solar system is not producing energy. These credits roll over from month to month. You will not, however, receive a check from your utility for the excess energy you put back into the grid. 

At what rate do utility companies credit me for my usage?

Electric companies credit you at a net excess generation rate. The State of Ohio’s net metering policy does not require utilities to credit energy you produce at the full retail rate.  

This rate depends on your electric company. Your experienced Solar Consultant can help you understand what your utility’s net excess generation rate is.

Can my energy bill be $0?

In many cases, yes!   

Some utility companies have a single fixed cost, or customer charge, that all customers are required to pay each month. However, in many cases you can use credits to pay down the fixed monthly costs.  We often see $0 electric bills sent to us by our customers!  

How much energy from my electric company will I purchase annually, when I have a solar system?

We don’t design all solar systems to meet 100% of a homes electric usage over the course of the year. Why? This depends on many factors, but primarily the amount of space a home has for solar panels. Your solar consultant will work with you to design a solar system that makes sense for your homes annual electricity usage.  

 

Third Sun Solar has worked with hundreds of homeowners across the state of Ohio and beyond. We have close working relationships with all of Ohio’s many rural cooperatives and public utilities.

If you have any questions about solar or net metering, please reach out.

 

 

 

Solar Batteries Becoming Increasingly Common   

Here at Third Sun Solar we are finding that our residential customers are increasingly interested in purchasing battery storage with their solar energy system. Battery systems are valuable for many reasons. They provide peace of mind to individuals who experience frequent power outages. Especially in rural areas in Ohio, grid outages are common. Solar batteries help families regain control over their home lives by providing a source of power that doesn’t rely on the energy company.   

Is Your Grid Reliable?   

Some people don’t know that The National Electric Code mandates grid tied solar systems shut off during a power outage. Why? During a power outage, the power utility sends out repair crews to find and fix the points of failure. Power leaking onto the grid lines endangers linemen and women fixing the service issue. Therefore, utility rules mandate that in the event of a power outage, solar arrays must automatically shut down. Solar systems have detectors that sense whether power is coming across the grid. Solar systems automatically shut down when the grid fails. This is a done to protect utility workers.  

Because batteries store excess solar energy, they still function during a power outage.  

What are battery backup systems?   

Battery backup systems are a lot like they sound.  Batteries are used as an emergency power source during power outages.  Solar energy created from you array charges the batteries, then the batteries power your home.  These systems are generally not designed to backup whole house loads, but rather critical loads such as lighting, sump pumps, furnace blowers, refrigeration, etc.  Third Sun Solar installs battery backup solutions to for homeowners who request backup batteries in addition to a solar PV system.  

By design, solar battery systems provide backup power during grid failure. Solar batteries do not typically support nighttime loads.  

Maintenance   

Batteries are much like a car, if you park in the garage and never pay attention to it, it will not work when you need it.  Depending on the type of battery technology you choose, there may be some battery maintenance such as topping off fluid levels and equalizing the batteries (lead-acid batteries).  Other types of batteries, like lithium-ion batteries, require much less maintenance. Batteries need to cycle, this means that the power levels need to reach a low point to get charged to full again. Additionally, battery charge levels need observation both during use and while not in use. 

They level of attention your solar batteries will need depends on your choice of technology. Compared to lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries are virtually trouble free, however the inverters and communications systems will need modified as time goes on and new features become available 

A solar battery customer will have a higher level of engagement with their batteries than your typical solar homeowner. Maybe you have a technical mindset & are interested in being involved with the solar battery system.  If you’re interested in a hands off system, a generator may be a better choice to achieve your backup power goal. 

Why now?   

We are in a new era of solar energy storage. Lithium ion batteries are a wonderful technology and new innovations like the Tesla Powerwall are making their way into the market. Don’t forget- the 30% federal tax credit drops after 2019– and solar battery purchases count in this tax credit. 

For customers who experience frequent grid outages and want to regain control of their energy, batteries are a great solution. Comfort comes from knowing that you’ll have the power you need even when the grid is down. With a battery system, energy is reliably ready for you at any moment.   

Click here to get your FREE solar proposal. 

 

4 Reasons To Go Solar This Spring

The dreary Ohio winter is behind us. That means it’s the perfect time to think about solar for your roof! Take advantage of peak solar production months by choosing to go solar this spring.  

Many homeowners choose to get repairs done on their roofs or replace the whole roof in the springtime. Right after a roof repair or replacement is the best time for solar panel instillation. Why? Because you won’t have to worry about your solar panels outliving your roof.   

And while you’re thinking about springtime home improvement projects, remember: solar is an easy way to improve your utility bill! Take full advantage of the peak production months by reaching out today. 

1. Get a system in time to soak up the sun during peak solar production months  

Even though we’ve got a fantastic install team, if everyone buys solar at once, there can be delays. Spring is your chance to beat the rush!   

Here at Third Sun Solar we’re in the highest demand in the summertime. Why? Once those long days of sunlight are upon us, people remember why solar in Ohio works! Calling now is the best way to get scheduled to maximize peak production months.  

What is a peak production month?  

The longest day of the year is coming: June 21st The Spring equinox! This means that the days will be longer and will remain long into the summertime and fall. Peak production months are months with the most amount of peak sunlight hours. A peak sun hour is defined as an hour of sunlight that offers 1,000 watts of PV power per square meter. These peak hours occur when the sun is highest in the sky. The number of peak sun hours increases during the summer months.  In Ohio, our peak production months are May- October, when days are long and sunny.   

2. Get the paperwork over with  

Solar installations are a little more complicated than installing a new central AC unit. It’s important to allow time for the whole solar process.  From permitting with the utility company to the local municipality, we process a lot of paperwork before your solar system can go live. Because we’re often waiting on responses from energy retailers and utility companies, this process can take a while. It’s important to start planning early.  

3. Enjoy the summer without worrying about choosing a solar installer!  

What do you like to do in the summertime? You probably want to be relaxing, spending time away from work and with your family. Maybe you enjoy barbecuing, hiking or canoeing. You don’t want to be spending hours researching solar installers or on the phone with your utility company. Choosing your solar installer now guarantees that you won’t have to spend relaxing summer days researching!   

4. The FTC end this year  

Ensure that you purchase your solar energy system before the end of 2019 to qualify for the 30% Federal Tax Credit. This Solar Tax Credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of your solar system from your federal taxes.  Remember: the average homeowner will save approximately $1,000 more when they buy in 2019. In 2022 the tax credit drops permanently to 0% for homeowners.   

Who is eligible for the 30% Federal Tax Credit?   

  • Individuals and for-profit businesses in the U.S.   
  • Those that pay federal taxes  
  • Those who have purchased a new solar system and placed it in service prior to 2020.   

What costs are eligible?   

  • Solar panels  
  • Racking/Mounting equipment  
  • Inverters  
  • Balance of system (wire, conduit, junction boxes, etc)  
  • Installation labor  
  • Sales and use taxes  

 

A case could be made that anytime of the year is a good time for installing solar. BUT if you’re currently enjoying the rays of the sun, now is the right time! Give us a call today: 740-249-4533

 

 

6 Easy Steps to Solar

 

Third Sun Solar makes it easy to go solar. We have helped over 1,000 customers power their homes and businesses with clean energy & lower their monthly electricity bills. We are here to help you too. From designing to financing, through permitting and construction, our team goes to work for you.  

 

1.Remote Site Assessment

To save time & reduce our carbon footprint, our initial site assessment with you will be remote!  

 

  • Our friendly Solar Consultant will set up a time to chat with you, answer any questions you have, and look at your site via Google Earth.  
  • We’ll ask for a copy of your electric bill. This important piece of the assessment process will help us design a system that is the right fit for your electric usage. 
  • Our assessments are always informative and there is never any pressure.  Solar is a great solution for many, but if it’s not a good fit for you that’s fine.  

 

2. We Design Your System

Your Solar Consultant will use the information from your conversation, Google Earth and your electric bill to design an optimized system that meets your solar energy goals.  

 

3. We Review Your Solar Proposal 

Your Solar Consultant will create a proposal for you that will include system size and details, solar performance estimates, maintenance and warranty information and more.  

 

  • We will walk you through all the details of your solar system proposal.  
  • We will line up your zero-down financing and low interest loan options!  
  • We answer each and every question – this is an important decision and we want you to be well informed.  

 

4. We visit your home 

Once you have made your decision to go solar, we schedule a “technical site visit” to confirm measurements of the initial remote assessment.    

 

5. We manage your project

From permitting, coordinating with your utility company and ordering your equipment to sending out a team of installers and certified electricians, Third Sun Solar handles the instillation process seamlessly.   

 

  • Our experienced solar instillation teams take pride in the way a solar system is installed. They focus on safety, quality and performance. 
  • Our team provides “white glove” customer service. They keep disruptions at a minimum and treat every homeowner like a new member of the Third Sun Solar family. 

 

6. Flip the switch & enjoy the sun’s energy! 

After the last panel is installed, we will walk with you through the ins and out of the system and help you celebrate. Our team will stay in touch. We will answer any ongoing questions and help you spread solar with our Solar Champion program. 

 

When you choose Third Sun Solar as your solar partner, you are hiring a company with a conscientious, detailed and refined process to bring your energy dreams to life. With our smart solar financing solutions, you can make your dream happen with $0 down.  

When you’re ready, get in touch and we will get you started on your solar journey. 

 

 

How to Choose the Right Solar Installer for your Home 

Aesthetic and Quality Risks:  Choosing a Solar Installer for your Home 

Remember the old adage “you get what you pay for”?  This is especially important when making an investment in solar, a project that should add value to your home. If installed improperly, however, a solar array will have the opposite effect!  At Third Sun Solar, our 19 years of experience across Ohio has taught us how to do it right. Your choice of a solar company is the most important decision you will have as you go solar: choose wisely.

Read below for a description of the solar installation process & the issues we have seen from less experienced installers. You should choose a quality solar installer to ensure your home receives solar energy for years to come!

The Process 

You likely consider your home one of your most valuable assets. Because of this, choosing the right installation partner is critically important. Listed below are the two important phases of the solar panel installation process, which you should focus on.

  1. Solar Racking Installation– A typical roof installation involves drilling and properly waterproofing 40-60 holes through the roof. The holes are for the attachment of the array and the design, materials and techniques must withstand extreme weather, summer and winter for decades.
  2. Electrical Wiring– From each panel, down through the house to the inverter, and then to the interconnection to your homes electrical system, there is a lot of electrical work that goes into a solar installation. Solar installations must be done by a licensed electrical contractor in the State of Ohio. This licence ensures the contractor is trained and experienced to perform solar installation safely and with methods that will hold over time.

The Risks

We are sad to say that we see installation practices from other solar installation companies that are at best unsightly, often prone to early failure and at worst unsafe.

The solar company you select determines who the actual technicians are that are in your home doing the work.  While many companies employ subcontractors, temporary labor or poorly compensated untrained employees, Third Sun Solar is proud to only use our fully trained, well compensated loyal and dedicated direct employees on our residential projects.  We offer full benefits, paid holidays and vacation, and ongoing training to our employees. To us it’s a no brainer, it’s just who we are. It’s important for us to employ people invested in our company, who take pride in the work they do & are skilled at it. It makes for a happy workplace and happy customers.

Not all solar installation companies hire and retain a qualified, skilled and dedicated installation team. Many have no safety program and work without OSHA approved methods, placing you at risk of a terrible tragedy on your property. Many use untrained and under-compensated installers that are rushing through important steps, cutting corners to get to the next job.  Some installers work their crews far into overtime, carrying panels up ladders and working on a hot roof for 7 days at 10 hours per day.

It’s important to ask yourself: what type of installer would you want working on your home, ensuring your solar investment is done in a way that ensures high performance, safety and durability for years to come?

 

Solar Racking Installation 

This meticulous job must be done by trained, caring professionals if it is to look right, hold up over time, and not cause damage to your home. Panels can fall off the roof or leakage can occur if this work is done incorrectly. A leaky roof can cause many different issues such as structural damage, mold and rotting.

If done correctly by trained professionals this important step will be secure and not leak. At Third Sun we secure the array with a special system that protects your home with three layers of technology. We install stainless steel bolts with rubber gaskets, a durable top quality aluminum flashing that is layered into the shingles above, below and on either side of the penetration, and as a final extra layer of protection we seal up the holes with top quality roof sealant.

Electrical Wiring

As the process moves from panel racking to electrical wiring, the stakes get even higher. Today’s high-performance solar electronics must be installed properly if they are to last decades (and not void the manufacturer warranty).  As with any electrical work on your home, improper design or installation can lead to fire, electrical shock and homeowner liability.  As we mentioned earlier – this work must be done by a fully trained, licensed electrician.  Unfortunately, many solar installation companies are breaking Ohio law and cutting corners, operating without a license.  Third Sun Solar is licensed by the State of Ohio. Check here to make sure that the solar installation company you choose is a licensed electrical contractor.

Plastic PVC Conduit – Risks

Often, Third Sun Solar is called to repair the work done by our competitors.  We see all sorts of poor work out there, and one of the biggest culprits is the result of cutting corners to reduce costs.  Many companies use plastic conduit (PVC) or flex pipe because their technicians don’t have the skills or tools to bend conduit, and to save money on materials. Unfortunately, this plastic degrades under the sun’s UV rays, turning brittle and cracking in as little as 5 years!  In addition to creating a safety hazard, this shortcut means expensive and bothersome repairs that need made over the lifetime of your solar system.

Over our many years of work in solar, we have learned a lot about what holds up over time and what is likely to fail.  At Third Sun Solar we use metal conduit on all of our solar installations. Metal conduit costs a bit more and requires skills and proper training to bend and install. Though the initial investment in metal conduit might be slightly more expensive up front, it will certainly hold up better over time, saving in the long run.

Conduit Aesthetics

Aside from the safety and performance complications of conduit, your conduit choice also impacts the aesthetics of your array.  The solar array on your home should be gorgeous, not just to ensure your home increases in value. Our goal is to impress your neighbors and friends. We will make them believe that a home solar array would look great on their roof too!

On the majority of our projects we find a way to run the wiring inside your home.  If that is impossible, we will run metal conduit in a hidden location, such as adjacent to a rain downspout.  Many of our clients request that we paint this conduit if it is exterior.  We almost always run conduit inside the attic, but in some cases must run on the roof top.  We are sure you would agree that metal conduit on your roof looks a lot better than plastic PVC!

Can you see the exposed conduit?

Third Sun Solar is an electrical contractor licensed by the State of Ohio. Check here to make sure that the solar installation company you choose is a licensed electrical contractor.  

 

In Conclusion… 

Here at Third Sun, our advice is to do it right the first time. As you make the important selection of what solar installer to trust your home to, ask to see photos of their installations. Better yet? Go look at their work up close.  Go speak with their customers, both recent and those that have had an array for 10 years or more.  Ask: how the array has performed? How was the installation experience ? Were there any “surprise costs” or change orders above and beyond the original price promised?

Ask the installer: will the conduit will be visible or hidden? What type of conduit will they use? Most importantly: look them up here to find out if they are a licensed electrical contractor or are operating illegally.

We would be happy to answer any questions you have about solar! Get in touch with us today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips & Tricks for Solar Champions  

Here at Third Sun we are sincerely grateful for our customers. We’re grateful for your choice to go solar and your enthusiasm to spread the word with your friends and family. Even if you aren’t a customer, you can still be a Solar Champion. Read on to learn how.

How to talk to friends and family about installing solar

You know what convinced you to go solar. And you know you friends and family best. You are uniquely positioned to tell them why they should choose solar power. We recognize it can be a tricky conversation, but an important one to have, so we’ve included some tips & tricks below to help you!  

Become a Solar Champion  

Being a Solar Champion is a great way to spread the word about the environmental and financial benefits of choosing solar energy to power your home. What else? You will earn $500 with each referral that purchases solar through Third Sun. Your friends and family save money too when they choose Third Sun Solar. With your referral they will receive $250 off the price of their solar energy system. If you think a friend or family member is ready to talk to us about solar, enter them into the referral page of our website!  

Let your friend or family member know that we’ll be reaching out 

If you fill out the Solar Champion Referral form, let your referral know that we will be contacting them soon and to be expecting a call. Don’t forget to follow up with them, too. What did they decide to do? What additional information can you provide, or questions can you answer for them? 

A few ways you can ask if you can refer a friend or family member to Third Sun Solar:  

“You’ve expressed interest in my solar energy system in the past, and I’m reaching out to see if I could put you in contact with my installer, Third Sun Solar. They will provide a free quote specific to your home with no obligation to purchase! 

“I know we’ve talked in the past about you installing solar on your roof. If you want to learn more, I highly recommend my solar installer, Third Sun Solar. Would you like to put you in contact with them?  Through their referral program, you will receive $250 off the cost of your system if you choose to make the purchase!”  

“The 30% federal tax credit for solar is ending this year. This program will save you thousands on the upfront cost of your solar system, increasing your net gain in the long-run. If you’re interested in solar, I’ve got to say, 2019 is the year. Can I recommend you to my installer, Third Sun Solar? “ 

Host a solar open house 

Get some of your neighbors together for a solar open house. We’ll come out to talk about the system and answer any questions they may have about solar.  

Share your love of the sun on social media!  

An effective way to spread the word about solar: social media! Share photos for your home and your panels and to let your followers know about your choice to power your home with green energy.  

Tag Third Sun Solar, or use the hashtag: #PowerForLife 

Linking photos back to Third Sun will help potential customers see projects that we’ve done and help you tell your friends and family about your exciting investment! Feel free to tag your Solar Consultant in posts when it makes sense so they can follow up with interested friends and family! 

Call our office today to learn more about the Solar Champion Referral program. 877-OWN-SOLAR. We look forward to working with your friends and family!  

Building a Solar Ready Home

If you’re building a new home, you have the opportunity to build it with energy efficiency in mind. Energy smart choices will save you time and money in the long run. 

Tips for building an energy efficient home:  

  1. Work with a contractor who has built low-energy homes in the past 
  2. Use Energy-Star rated appliances, windows, and insulation.
  3. Super insulate your attic and sealing ducts  
  4. If you’re going solar, consider an electric stove and/or water heater
  5. Select highly insulated windows and doors 
  6. Use large south facing windows to bring heat into your home during the wintertime (and cover with shades to cool in the summertime) 
  7. Install energy efficient lighting 
  8. Power your home with the sun!  

Planning for Solar: 

  • Identify local requirements: Some homeowners associations, historic preservation districts and communities have special solar zoning requirements. Get up to speed by researching local zoning rules and regulations.  

Designing for Solar 

  • Position your home with solar in mind: If you want to power your home with solar, the most important thing to consider is positioning. A south facing roof is ideal for solar panels to capture the most sun. On average, east and west rooftops capture a little less of the suns energy. 
  • Roof angle: A roof pitched between 30 and 45 degrees is ideal for solar in Ohio.  
  • Roof truss: spacing of 4 feet or less.
  • Roof Material: We can mount panels most cost-effectively, with no roof penetrations, on Standing Seam Metal.
  • Conduit run: of 250 feet or less for solar electric lines.
  • Built-in metal conduit: from the attic to a location near the electrical service panel— typically 1-inch conduit.
  • Large service disconnect: as a point of connection for solar.
  • Minimize roof obstructions: Keep solar panels in mind when designing where to put vents and other roof attachments, like dormers and chimneys.  
  • Load Bearing of the roof: Make sure that your roof will be able to bear the additional weight of a solar energy system.  
  • Consider landscaping: For solar to work well, sunlight needs direct access to your roof. Think about the placement of your home in relation to trees and other landscaping that could cast shadows on your solar arrays.  

Work with your solar installer from the beginning. 

Once you’ve decided to include solar in the plan for your new home, give us a call. We’ve worked with many people who are building a new home and interested in installing solar. We know all the tricks. We’ll even create a plan with your contractor.  Third Sun Solar offers zero down to homeowners, which means you don’t have to bear the brunt of high upfront costs. You start saving money from day one.  

Our Portfolio  

We have worked on many energy efficient homes in Ohio. Last year we installed solar panels on a home in Cincinatti, Ohio, that achieved LEED Platinum certification. This residence is equipped with solar panels and geothermal. Learn more about LEED accreditation here. Third Sun Solar is a proud member of the US Green Building Council, the accreditation body for LEED certification.   

Go Green & Save Green this St. Patrick’s Day

Go Green & Save Green this St. Patrick’s Day

Here in Ohio, it seems that spring has come early and while our trees aren’t green quite yet, St. Patrick’s day is a good reminder of all things green. It’s a great opportunity to start thinking about greening your home and consequently, saving green in the long run!

In the world we live in, energy is an expense that is almost impossible to avoid. Reducing the amount of energy we use is good for both the planet as well as our wallets.

Tips to Green Your Home by Saving Electricity:

1. Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes

2. Plug electronics into power strips

3. Purchase Energy Star products

4. Switch out incandescent bulbs for CFL & LED bulbs

5. Wash laundry in cold water

6. Go solar!

How Going Solar can help you Go Green & Save Green

Solar power uses clean, renewable power from the sun to make energy. The standard way of creating energy relies on non-renewable fossil fuels which release carbon when processed and contribute to rising greenhouse gasses in our environment. In fact, the majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from vehicle emissions and power plants that generate power for the utility companies. Compared to its alternative, solar power has a much friendlier impact on the environment.

Energy from the sun is readily available, abundant and won’t run out! Fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, need mined before they can be processed. The mining process is harmful to the environment and it is expensive. This expense, in part, is passed on to customers by way of their electric bill. Using solar power over fossil fuels is one of the most important steps a person can make to reduce the amount of carbon they put out into the environment. By switching to solar power, you can put your money towards capturing earth’s cleanest and most readily available energy resource: the sun!

Solar systems provide homeowners with the opportunity to generate their own power. Solar energy systems have a high up-front cost, but once installed, the fuel (the sun) is free forever. Due to the thirty-year system life and low maintenance costs, once the system is purchased, the cost of energy is fixed at a known quantity. Conventional energy prices, however, with their dependence on fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil) are subject to the volatility of those markets, as well as any future costs of environmental remediation or carbon emissions penalties. The cost of owning a solar system remains set and the reward- the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow- comes as you avoid energy costs that tick upward year after year.

How to save the most green?

Call now. Our schedule is quickly filling up and customers who are looking to take advantage of the full 30% federal tax credit before it drops at the end of this year should start now. Also, Third Sun Solar offers zero down financing! There is no better time to commit to owning your energy now and in the future.

Solar can give you 30 years or more of energy cost predictability, along with a nice rate of return on the solar investment. That could make you and your family feel really good — knowing you are also taking positive steps for the climate, the planet, and your future generations.

Get a free solar quote by filling out this free quote form. 

 

The Third Sun Solar Advantage – $500M of buying power and more!

In 2011, a group of solar installers representing territories from across the United States came together and launched a revolutionary plan to better serve their customers. These companies decided it was time to form a national organization where independent solar installers could support each other by pooling their purchasing power as well as sharing best practices. This cooperative model allows Third Sun Solar, an average sized regional solar business, to negotiate equipment purchases as though it were a $500 Million company.  Membership in Amicus Solar allows Third Sun Solar to achieve scale while still maintaining the speed and nimbleness, as well as the “family business feel” of a smaller local company. 

Today, we have 51 member-owners with office locations in 38 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada and we’re growing. Between all members, we have licenses to operate in all 50 states! The Cooperative is owned and democratically led by its member companies (like Third Sun Solar!).  Amicus members are passing their enhanced purchasing power along to customers by offering best solar pricing on high-quality solar electric system installations.  

Why does Third Sun Solar’s membership in Amicus make a difference to our customers?  

  • We purchase better equipment at lower pricesallowing us to provide better pricing to you without cutting any corners
  • Your system’s performance, quality and operational efficiency all improve based on Amicus members sharing best practices and technical knowledge
  • You have access to superior financing partners for residential and commercial loans   
  • Amicus vets all suppliers, only choosing companies with good track records so we can assure you that the equipment you’re investing in is the best out there  
  • It allows you to support istate installers instead of larger, national companies without sacrificing cost or quality  

 

Company founders Geoff and Michelle Greenfield recently won the “Cooperative Award” from Amicus Solar Cooperative for the work Third Sun Solar does for the group.

 

Dedicated to the mission of offsetting carbon emissions and giving customers agency over their energy production, Amicus members are mission driven, vision aligned businesses working to bring the solar revolution to energy consumers across the nation. We are proud to say 40% of Amicus members are B Corporations.  Similar to Patagonia, one of the founders of the B-Corp movement, these Amicus members are a special kind of company, with a legal commitment to people, planet, profit that is verified by an outside audit. Amicus Solar Cooperative is a B Corp itself, having won the distinction of achieving top 10% of all certified B Corps in the Impact Governance category. In 2015 Third Sun Solar was named Best for the Environment by B Corp

For average sized businesses like Third Sun Solar, who don’t have the big buying power of huge corporate solar installers, having this strong value chain relationship is important. Amicus is interested in maintaining thriving local solar installation companies and creating a competitive advantage by buying pooling power. Amicus empowers solar entrepreneurs by giving them a venue to compete on the big stage. As a result, jobs and money stay in your neighborhood!  

Here at Third Sun Solar we are invested in our community – it’s wellbeing and its future.  

If you would like a competitive quote for your home, business, or non-profit please reach out to Third Sun Solar today for more information. 

 

Snowfall and Solar Systems

If you’re considering going solar, you might be wondering if cold and snowy midwestern winters should affect your decision. This is one of the most asked questions we get.  Third Sun Solar has 19 years of experience installing systems on all types of buildings across Ohio. To date, our portfolio includes nearly 900 installations in the mid-west. These folks didn’t let our cold winters or snowfall discourage them from going solar, and you shouldn’t either!    

Can my solar panels produce energy if they are covered in snow? No, a solid covering of snow all but shuts off production.  The good news is that overall production loss from the snow is very small when looking at performance on an annual basis. Losing a day of production in January is a fraction of a day in July.  Here at Third Sun Solar, our team takes winter’s shorter days, snowfall and the orientation of sunlight all into account when estimating the output of your system. 

Residential Solar System Covered in Snow

Depending on the tilt of your roof and the slant of your panels, snow will typically slide off on its own. Even in the heart of winter solar panels give off a small amount of heat, which helps to warm and melt the snow. Additionally, snow on the ground can reflect light, amplifying the sunlight absorbed by your solar panels. During sunny winter days, the sun will warm the dark solar panels and the snow will melt and snow will typically slide off the smooth surface. An added bonus? Cleaning the panels won’t be necessary, snow can get this job done easily!  

Are cold temperatures bad for my solar panels? Unless covered in snow, solar panels are actually more efficient in cold conditions.  Like most electronics, solar panels function better at colder temperatures than under intense heat.  Most arrays hit their highest power generation of the year on cold clear winter days at noon.   

Should I try to clear the snow off my solar panels? Snow will usually melt quickly off your panels. There is the occasional blizzard, however, that leaves snow lingering on rooftops for an extended period of time. Overall, yearly production loss from snow cover is very small. At Third Sun, we do not recommend trying to clear the solar panels. Getting onto a roof in inclement weather is dangerous and using any type of tool on the panels themselves can damage the panels. Snow falling off of the panels can be a nuisance, and if the lower edge of a roof mounted array is close to the edge of the roof, we will recommend “Snow Guards” over doorways or areas with pedestrian activity. 

Remember that, living in the Midwest, the worst of the winter months and the short days only last for about three months. Time with reduced solar output is limited. In the sunny summer months, your system can generate more solar energy than you use, which will be reflected in a surplus energy credit. At the end of the year, our customers are happy with their overall annual production.   

Now that you know this, consider…  

2019 is the final year to get the full 30% federal tax credit before it drops. Ohio homeowners are realizing the savings and the return on investment will increase when you go solar before the end of 2019.   

If you would like a quote for your home, business, or non-profit please sign up for a free solar estimate or call 877-OWN-SOLAR today.