Ranked second nationally in solar production in 2011, Ohio lost its momentum in the market after a two-year freeze was placed on the state’s benchmarks for renewable energy and energy efficiency in 2014. Despite recommendations of an indefinite freeze on the benchmarks, Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) states that 12.5 percent of all energy must come from renewable by sources by 2026, 0.5 percent of which must come from solar panels.

Ohio’s Solar Power
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

How Much Does Electricity Cost in Ohio?

The cost of residential electricity in Ohio averages $0.13/kWh. Although that figure is only slightly above the national average, electricity in the Buckeye State is more expensive than any other time since 2005 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Higher electricity prices may encourage Ohio residents to turn to solar energy, encouraging industry growth and sustainability.

Cost of Residential Electricity in Ohio

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Ohio Solar:
Library of Resources

Ohio Solar Panel Incentives

Currently, utilities don’t have the incentive to drive solar energy support because they lose money when homeowners use less electricity. Fortunately, homeowners in Ohio will find there are still some incentives for them to make the switch.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates Program (SRECs)

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, or SRECs, were created to help Ohio to achieve its goal of 0.5 percent solar power generation by 2026. Retail suppliers of electricity have to buy or generate SRECs to remain in compliance, or they must make Solar Alternative Compliance Payments for shortfalls in their purchases of SRECs. The SREC prices differ based on the market, and these certificates last for five years following their initial purchase.

Special Energy Improvement Districts

Ohio law permits owners of properties to borrow funds to cover energy improvement costs, including those tied to solar PV system installations. The amount lent is usually repaid through a special property assessment over the course of a few years. The low-interest loan has a term of 30 years.

Energy Loan Fund

Low-cost financing is available for solar PV system installations at Ohio businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The loan limit is usually $1 million, be increased depending on a case-by-case basis. There must be a 15 percent decrease in energy usage as a result of the solar energy project.

Energy Conservation for Ohioans (ECO-Link) Program

The program allows homeowners in Ohio to receive a lower rate for financing solar PV system installations. Any qualifying homeowner can receive a rate reduction of 3 percent via participating banks. The reduction is available for up to $50,000 for seven years of each loan.

None for commercial specifically

POLICIES

Net Metering

According to Ohio law, an electric distribution utility in the state must provide net metering to a customer who generates solar energy. No capacity limits have been stated for individual net-metered power systems. Excess energy generation is credited to the next bill of a customer, and the customer can ask for payments for excess generation following a 12-month billing cycle.

Interconnection Standards

Based on Ohio’s interconnection standards, there are three levels for connecting solar PV systems (up to 20 MW) to the electric grid. At Level 1, the review procedure is simplified for inverter-based distributed generators, with a nameplate capacity that is 25 kW or less. For Level 2, review procedures are expedited; this level is designed for systems up to 5 MW. Level 3 is designed for systems as large as 20 MW.

Advanced Energy Fund

This fund is currently being utilized to fill funds that are actively lending, including the Energy Loan Fund. The fund has been used to provide grants for solar PV projects.

Solar Easements

Ohio law permits the creation of solar easements to protect and maintain appropriate access to sunlight for solar PV power systems. These easements have to be executed in writing.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

TAX CREDITS

None for residential/commercial specifically

None for commercial specifically

None for residential specifically

EXEMPTIONS

None for residential/commercial specifically

None for residential specifically

Qualified Energy Property Tax Exemption for Projects

According to Ohio law, solar PV projects in the state are exempt from real property taxes and personal property taxes. Systems that are larger than 250 kW are eligible for this exemption (property taxes were replaced by “payments in lieu” that are based on factors such as facility type and size). Systems that are 250 kW and less are also exempt from taxes.

Ohio Companies, Contractors & Installers

More than $36 million was invested in Ohio solar installations in 2014. With more than 250 companies providing solar energy services in the state, consumers need to do their research before choosing an installer. When making a decision, Ohioans should ask how long each company has been in the solar business and about the size and scope of prior installation projects.

The following list of Ohio solar energy companies can help you start your search for a solar contractor or installer.

Dovetail Solar and Wind

Dovetail provides solar thermal and solar electric systems for new and established constructions.

Where it operatesAll across Ohio, with HQ in Cleveland

Year of opening1995

Ecohouse Solar

Ecohouse Solar helps its customers with financing, designing, permitting and installing solar energy systems to their homes and small businesses.

Where it operatesColumbus

Year of opening2008

Go Green 4 Power

Go Green 4 Power supplies Northwest Ohio with both on- and off-grid solar PV systems.

Where it operatesHolgate

Year of opening2009

Hyperion Energy Solutions LLC

Hyperion specializes in creating and installing custom solar energy systems for residential and commercial buildings.

Where it operatesBellville

Year of opening2012

Mariner Energy Systems LLC

Mariner offers design, consultation and installation services to Ohio residents looking to add solar panels to their homes and businesses.

Where it operatesMedina

Year of opening2005

Paradise Energy Solutions, LLC

Paradise Energy Solutions offers solar panel systems for businesses, houses and farms.

Where it operatesSugarcreek

Year of opening2009

Red Hawk Energy Systems

Red Hawk doesn’t just install their solar energy systems; the engineer and fabricate them. The company offers various types of solar panel systems, including hybrid solar systems.

Where it operatesPataskala

Year of opening2004

Roberts Service Group

This electrical construction company offers solar PV system design and installation to Ohio residents.

Where it operatesColumbus

Year of opening1975

SolarMax

SolarMax Inc. is a solar PV installer that has completed solar projects throughout Ohio, most recently in Medina County. The company offers full-service solar system services including solar analysis, design and installation, as well as obtaining all required permits. SolarMax uses SolarWorld panels and Enphase microinverters.

Where it operatesBrunswick

Year of opening2009

Stoneacre Energy Solutions

Stoneacre specializes in alternative energy solutions, including solar PV, ventilation and thermal systems.

Where it operatesToledo

Year of opening2004

Third Sun Solar

Third Sun helps bring solar energy to agriculture, businesses, homes, government and organizations. The company also offers financing solutions.

Where it operatesAthens

Year of opening1997

YellowLite

YellowLite’s focus is providing different solar energy options for residences, businesses and nonprofits. They offer many different designs and brands to suit different solar energy needs.

Where it operatesCleveland

Year of opening2009

Other Resources

Take a look at the following list for additional information on solar energy in Ohio.

DSIRE Incentives Database – Ohio

Search for solar energy policies and incentives offered to residences in the state of Ohio.

Green Energy Ohio

Access fact sheets on renewable energy and energy efficiency, search for solar energy installers, and explore a database of Ohio incentives.

Ohio Energy Project

Learn about energy efficiency and conservation, sources and forms of energy, and the economic and environmental impact of energy use.

Ohio Legislature

Find out how to contact legislators and stay abreast of pending legislation that affects the solar energy industry.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio

Stay informed about the regulation of electricity rates and services of public utilities in Ohio.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – Ohio State Profile

Locate energy statistics for the state of Ohio from the U.S. government including consumption estimates by source and sector.