Solar Panels on a Roof in Cleveland, Ohio

Solar Panels in Ohio

Solar Energy in Ohio

Ohio may not be the first place you assume has a hot market for solar… but you keep hearing about it! Do solar panels really work in Ohio? The short answer – yes. We have been in business for the past 20 years and the market only continues to grow in Ohio.

Is there enough sunshine for solar panels to work in Ohio?

In Ohio, winters are cloudy but there are plenty of sunny days throughout the year.  The US department of energy tracks and maps the multi-year annual and monthly averages from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This data has been collected at multiple locations to accurately represent regional solar radiation climates. The map shows current as well as predictive availability of solar energy. Ohio’s kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day fall in the 4-hour range. This means that on average throughout the year there are 4 hours a day of peak sunlight. This data helps us understand the amount of solar energy available for your panels to produce electricity.

What happens on cloudy, rainy, or snowy days?

Solar panels do produce electricity in cloudy weather. Obviously, they don’t produce quite as much as they would on sunny days. Solar panels may drop in production to about 10 – 25 % of what they would be producing during peak sun times. It seems like a little, but they are still able to produce electricity.

In Ohio, net-metering is a benefit that helps homeowners make the most of all the solar they produce during the sunniest months. Over the sunny summer months, solar homeowners send excess electricity back to the grid to power their neighbor’s homes. They receive credits for that excess production from their utility. During the winter, when the solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity to power the whole home, electricity is pulled from the utility power and paid for with the credits banked up during the summertime.

Cloudy climates booming with solar

Other unexpected states that are leaders in the solar market are New Your, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maine. Additionally, Seattle and Portland Oregon are quickly becoming some of the best cities for solar in America. In large part, the growth of solar in cloudy markets has to do with net-metering policies.

Other reasons that solar power is growing in less sunny states:

  1. Solar panels have become more efficient even on cloudy days
  2. Prices have come down which allows homeowners to purchase larger solar systems with appealing economics and shorter payback periods

Did you know solar panels actually don’t perform their best in high temperatures? It might seem counter-intuitive but too much heat can reduce solar panel output by 10 – 25%. In Ohio, our climate is sunny enough and cool enough that solar performs well during peak production months.

Solar production factors

In Ohio, our estimates include a solar production of 1,000-1,200 kWh (system production) per kW (system size) in Ohio. If you are curious about other elements to keep in mind when evaluating a quote for a solar system, find our proposal quote checklist here. Here in Ohio, solar panels will produce the most when facing South. The optimum angle for the solar panels is equal to the latitude where they are installed. In Ohio, that’s anywhere from a 30 – 40-degree angle. While these are optimal scenarios, the specificity of the angle degree and panel direction changes the production only slightly.

What factors determine Solar Production:

  • Azimuth
  • Tilt
  • Shade
  • Climate Data

All of these factors add up to a very customized quote for your home. In addition to understanding how much energy your solar panels will produce, these factors are used in crafting the economic portion of your solar quote and your solar system payback.


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