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.


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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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.  



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!  

Choosing A Solar Installer

Third Sun Solar’s Energy Production Guarantee

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

Key benefits:

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

Ohio’s Leading Solar Installer

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

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

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

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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3 Solar Power Predictions for 2016

Welcome 2016

Quite a lot happened in 2015 that will bring improvements to our homes and environment. Now that 2016 is here, we wanted to make some solar power predictions around what we think is in store for the Midwest.

1 – More homeowners will go solar. The renewal of the ITC will allow solar installations in the Midwest to catch up to what has been going on in the coastal states. More and more homeowners will turn to solar this year as they watch their electricity bills increase due to rising costs of fossil fuels and rate hikes approved by PUCO.

2 – Storage is going to be talked about more than installed this year. We don’t think 2016 is the year for energy storage, although it will start creeping more and more into the media. We’ve already seen the excitement building around energy storage prototypes, but in the Midwest, we think it will be a few years away until energy storage provides financial benefits.

3 – Solar installation prices will continue to drop, although only slightly. PV modules have already seen significant price cuts over the last few years, so any future drops in price are more likely to come from installation innovations. These types of efficiency changes are only likely to result in small cost cuts and not on the scale as has been witnessed one the last few years.

Solar Myth Busting: High Maintenance

Rooftop solar

Myths get started all the time as we try to understand something complicated. We make up a story as an explanation, and the more times we say it and share it, the more that myth sounds like truth. So, we are going to bust some myths by sharing the simple facts about solar. This doesn’t have to be complicated and these myths are no longer necessary to get solar.

Myth: Solar is High Maintenance

Fact: Solar panels have no moving parts, on average are warrantied for 25 years, and nature takes care of the bulk of the maintenance work.

With no moving parts, solar panels require little to no regular maintenance. And because we are in the Midwest, we are lucky, because heavy rainfalls generally take care of cleaning the panels for us! If you think you are in an extra dusty part of town, a couple times a year you may want to check your solar panels for a build-up of dirt and debris, since heavily soiled panels will have slightly decreased output than sparkling panels. Panels that appear heavily soiled with dirt, pollen, or bird droppings can be rinsed off safely with a garden hose on cloudy days or early in the morning. No need to scrub your panels or hand clean them, which can result in damage. If your garden hose doesn’t have the power to get all of your panels with you standing on the ground, we recommend having a professional climb onto the roof to take care of them for you. Safety isn’t to be taken lightly.

Third Sun Solar makes the 2015 “Best for the Environment” list from B Corporation


Third Sun Solar is proud to be part of a larger movement which is striving to redefine success in business so all companies compete to not only be the best in the world, but best for the world. Healthy profits don’t mean much without a healthy planet, and we run our business with that in mind. That’s why we’re proud to lead our fellow B Corps in working to improve the quality of life for our community as a 2015 Best for Environment honoree.

How are we Best for the Environment? We earned an environmental impact score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on workers, the community and the environment. That means every day, along with our fellow honorees, we help create a healthier planet by taking the lead in advancing renewable energy usage, reducing carbon footprints, and cutting our resource use and waste stream.

A B Corp since 2012, we’re leading a global movement to redefine success in business so one day all companies compete to be not only the best in the world, but best for the world. We join over 1,200 other companies committed to using business as a force for good. Check them all out at

Taking people and planet as seriously as our profits is at the heart of our company’s mission. That’s why we have done things like:

  • installed solar on our own offices to produce almost 70% of our company’s electricity through clean power;
  • conducted a waste audit to see how we could cut down on our waste products even further;
  • encouraged and assisted other businesses to take action to become B Corporations;
  • sell a clean energy product every day with the mission to accelerate the shift to clean energy.

We couldn’t do all this without the support of our customers, our employees and our community. These are people like you who believe in our mission—people who prove that doing good is also good for business. Thank you helping us to succeed where it truly matters. We are proud to be Best for the Environment.

Please check out our fellow honorees—along with those who are Best for the World, Best for Workers and Best for Communities,—and help us spread the word. And contact us if you want to learn more about how your business or your employer can become a B Corp.

Smart Solar Finance—Owning Solar versus Leasing Solar

Why Let Someone Else Profit From Your Solar Investment?

Our society is seeing a great surge in people taking steps to be more green in their lives and work. Installing solar panels is one of the most visible and tangible green actions households can take, and with that in mind, many people are taking a fresh look at solar electric for their homes and businesses. A growing, maturing solar industry means lower manufacturing costs and a lower cost of solar energy. In recent years, the falling price of silicon has also contributed to lower prices of solar panels and making solar energy more affordable for everyone. Experienced solar energy companies like Third Sun Solar are now offering easy finance options for home solar panel systems.

Solar Home Ownership Made Easier

In Los Angeles, a booming solar city where thousands of homeowners have acquired residential solar through leasing, many people are now taking a second look at their solar panel lease—with regrets. Selling a house with a solar lease adds complications, and in some cases, they are now realizing they could have done better financially—much better—by buying their system outright.

With solar loan programs becoming more available and popular, people can now make an investment in installed solar panel kits for their home with little or no money down. If your credit score is good, you can get a good rate and easy terms. Our smart financing options allow us to offer easier purchasing options with better long-term returns than leasing.

The benefits of buying residential solar power, in many cases, far outweigh the benefits of leasing. Under our financing program, all of these advantages apply:

  • Little or no down payment
  • Customer may be eligible for a federal tax credit
  • Customer may gain asset value on home
  • Payments may decrease over time
  • There are no pre-payment penalties

An Investment That Pays You Over Time

Financing your investment in solar can put purchasing within reach and pay nice dividends—in fact, an investment in solar can outpace many other available investments these days. Using either our smart financing, a traditional refinanced mortgage, or using a home equity line of credit (HELOC) can pay for the system and reap solid downstream savings.

Purchasing a solar power system is a great long-term investment that can increase the value of solar homes more and more as utility rates rise over time. The immediate savings on your electric bill can multiply as rates rise, as they are predicted to do. No one knows how fast or how far utility rates will rise; in states like Ohio, where electric rates are low because utilities burn coal in aging power plants, chances are that rates will rise sharply as utilities are forced to replace those aging plants with newer, cleaner ones. Long-term energy savings with clean solar on your rooftop may be more and more attractive to home buyers as rates rise over time.

Downsides of Solar Leasing

Many people are drawn to solar leasing for the same reasons they are drawn to leasing cars—these leases require little money down on signing, and they can “drive more car for less money.” But that sidesteps the fact that they are creating no ownership equity. Dealers love leasing cars, as they make more money that way. With solar energy systems having a productive 30+ year lifecycle, a purchase decision can pay you the dividends, rather than letting someone else make that money off your rooftop.

Put the Money in Your Own Pocket

The advantages of solar leasing include low or no money down and a reduced electric bill that is consistent month to month. But consider these solar energy facts: if you lease, you do not own your solar panels, someone else does; you cannot take the 30% Federal Tax Credit, as you do not own the system; and the reason lease companies offer leases is that they represent earning opportunities for them. Solar ownership puts that earning opportunity in your pocket.

In states like California, where solar has been growing by leaps and bounds, leasing offers consumers a way to spread the up-front cost of solar over a long period of time, while also saving on their monthly electric bill. But lease payments are passed on to the home buyer in the event of a sale, and that is another drawback for a solar lease—selling the home may be more difficult because purchasers must have high enough credit scores to meet the leasing company requirements.

Choose Smart Solar Financing

Purchasing your solar system from one of the better solar panel companies can make the most financial sense in the long run. Purchasing is easier now thanks to lower costs, the 30% Federal Tax Credit and good financing options. Federal tax incentives are set to expire within the next 3 years, so the best time to go solar is now! Call us for details—877-OWN-SOLAR (877-696-7652).

Good Living, Solar Style: Residential Trends

This year, we have seen our business grow with increasing numbers of large commercial solar installations—and we are projecting that growth to continue, and accelerate, in 2012. But we have also seen a steady increase in residential solar. And in looking back over the past couple years, we see some clear trends emerging.
Read more

Third Sun Solar Ranked 32nd Energy Company on the Inc. 5000

Third Sun Solar Ranked 32nd Energy Company on the Inc. 5000

Three-Year Growth of 390% Places Third Sun Solar Number 742 Overall on Inc. Magazine’s Exclusive List of the Nation’s Fastest Growing Companies.

NEW YORK, August 19, 2009Inc. magazine this month ranked Third Sun Solar number 32 among energy companies, number 21 among Ohio based companies and number 742 overall on its annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s entrepreneurs. Consumer electronics maker Vizio, Internet giant GoDaddy, and beverage maker Honest Tea are a few of the prominent brands featured on this year’s list.

“Savvy trend spotters and those who invest in private companies know that the Inc. 5000 is the best place to find out about young companies that are achieving success through a wide variety of unprecedented business models, as well as older private companies that are still expanding at an impressive rate,” said Inc. 5000 project manager Jim Melloan. “That’s why our list is so eagerly anticipated every year.”

Commenting on the announcement, Third Sun Solar President Geoff Greenfield said, “We’ve been working on solar projects of all shapes and sizes since 1997, but making the Inc. list this year points to how far the industry has come.  Solar now makes economic sense in addition to environmental sense – even here in the Midwest”.  He added, “While other sectors are contracting, renewable energy is growing, and Third Sun is working hard to create sustainable jobs while providing sustainable energy.  I am especially proud of our team of dedicated people that have worked so hard to get us here, and I look forward to rapid growth as more customers decide to turn their roofs into productive assets”.

The 2009 Inc. 5000, unveiled this August on, serves as a unique report card on the U.S. economy. Despite the ongoing recession, aggregate revenue among the companies on the list actually increased to $214 billion, up $29 billion from last year, with a median three-year growth rate of 126 percent. The Inc. 5000 are responsible for creating more than 1 million jobs since their founding, making the list perhaps the best example of the impact private, fast-growing companies can have on the economy. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found on

About Third Sun Solar & Wind Power Ltd.

Third Sun Solar is the Midwest’s leading provider of solar energy systems to utility, commercial, residential and institutional customers.  Following construction of their own solar powered home in 1997, founders Geoff and Michelle Greenfield launched Third Sun in 2000 to serve the nascent solar market in the region. Third Sun has grown to become a top tier design, supply and installation resource for best in class solar systems.          www.Third-Sun.Com (877) OWN-SOLAR