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Clear info on home solar power rebates, tax credits, and other benefits

2017 Policy Grade

C

Avg. Yearly Savings

$100

Congratulations! You've found the ultimate guide to going solar in Ohio

2017 Policy Grade

C

Avg. Savings/year

$100

At Solar Power Rocks, our dream is to turn your thoughts of solar power for your home into reality

Note: The numbers above are just estimates for a 5kW solar system, and your home is unique. The best way to know exactly how much money solar power can save you is to connect with one of our partners nearby. A friendly solar expert we trust will give you a buzz and help you craft a personal plan to get the absolute most out of a solar power system for your home. It's 100% free (yes, that’s right, 100% free) and you aren't obligated to buy anything.

When some people think of Ohio they think of the crossroads between the east and the midwest, and all those cities and factories. Others, perhaps, think of all those Presidents (seven of them) that have come out of the Buckeye State. Here at Solar Power Rocks, we think of rivers. Ohio isn’t just a crossroads for American geographic regions and cultures, it’s a crossroads for lots of big rivers too. Big rivers that drain north into Lake Erie and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean, and big rivers that drain south into the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. Along with heavily forested areas in the southeastern part of the state, Ohio has a wealth of important and beautiful ecosystems that need protection.

So how is Ohio doing encouraging the sort of earth-friendly solar power that will help in that protection? Well, back in May 2014, they suspended the ramp-up of the state’s alternative energy standard for two years, pushing back progress on an already-tepid renewable energy law. This kind of wishy-washy commitment to renewables is way behind Ohio’s neighbors to the east like Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Let’s go over some of the policy major areas and see where Ohio is at…

Questions? Our network of solar experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page. You can get discounted on-grid pricing as low as $4,000/kW! This is paired with the Ohio solar incentives you see below.

Your guide to going solar in Ohio

We've designed this page to be a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on a home in Ohio. Since there's a lot of important information to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

The Solar Strategy section is all about the various financial options you have in Ohio. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions about what you hope to get out of a solar purchase and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we give you a detailed picture of how each could work for you.

The Policy Information section contains all of our latest research on the rules set by the state legislature and public utilities commission that determines how easy it is to go solar in Ohio. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to whether you get paid retail or wholesale rates for the extra energy your system produces, and can have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section lists all of the available financial benefits available to homeowners who go solar. This section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions. If you're looking for what Ohio is doing to make solar more affordable for its citizens, you'll find it here.

We hope you find our work useful. If so, please help us keep our research and advocacy as strong as possible by sharing it with someone who might also find it interesting, contributing any amount you can, and by getting yourself personalized savings estimates from our trusted partner network.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Your Solar Strategy in Ohio

Figuring out the best way to go solar in Ohio can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

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Compare the Return of Different Solar Investments in Ohio

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan or lease. As you can see, the purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but look a little closer. Taking a solar loan or Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit (HELOC—the orange bars) and paying for the system over time means you'll actually spend less of your own money over time, while reaping a big financial benefit in year 1.

That's because you'll be paying over time for the system, but you still get a 30% federal tax credit this year based on the entire cost. You'll start out ahead, so your payments over 15 years will have less impact on you than plunking down a big pile of money up front. All you need is equity or great credit.

Lastly, take a look at the blue bars. They represent a solar Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA), which is also called third-party ownership. With a PPA, you put $0 down on a rooftop solar system and make monthly payments for the electricity it produces that are a little less than you had been paying the utility company for their energy. With a PPA, your savings star t out small but grow as the cost will rise by less than the electric company's annual rate hikes. PPAs are an excellent option if you don't have any equity or cash to put down, and they still save you money!

Read more below about each of three very good options for solar in Ohio.

Net Present Value of Solar in Ohio

“Net Present What?!” Don’t panic, this isn’t an economics test. NPV is just a tool used to compare investments. Basically, it asks, “if you had X dollars to invest, which investment would get you the best return?” It relies on the idea that getting a return on your investment sooner is better than later, because you can reinvest your early profits and keep the gain train going.

We compare an investment in solar to a “what-if” investment in a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 stock index fund, which has seen growth of about 7% per year over the past 25 years. We use the cost of solar in Ohio and ask “how much better or worse (in 2017 dollars) is an investment in solar than stocks?” Here's what we found for the three different ways of going solar in Ohio:

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blue  Solar Power-Purchase Agreements in Ohio

A PPA is a great way to go solar if you haven't got stacks of cash or oodles of equity in your home. It's possible to get solar panels for $0-down and see savings over 20 years!

As for leases in Ohio: we don't see quite have the financial benefits of states with more sunshine or higher electricity prices—or both. For now, the electrcity from a 5-kW solar system will cost you $567 per year, while the same amount of power would have cost $667 from the utility company; a savings of $100.That might not sound like a great deal, but as the utility company raises rates, you will start to see larger savings. Over 20 years, our estimate shows a total savings of $3,354.

Here's more about how a solar PPA works:

Example savings in Ohio

Annual Electric Bill Before Solar

$1,298

Annual Electric Bill After Solar

$631

Est. Annual Solar Payments

$567

Average Annual Savings

$100

Power-Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are the most popular form of what's called "third-party solar." A PPA just means your solar company owns the panels on your roof, and you pay for the electricity they produce. The numbers above show the savings with a solar PPA for an average home in Ohio. The typical electric bill before solar power is super expensive, but with a PPA, your monthly expenses will be lower. You'll be saving money and saving the planet all at the same time!

Here's an estimate of the monthly savings for a solar PPA in Ohio:

Monthly solar PPA savings in Ohio

With a PPA, your solar company essentially becomes a second utility provider, only the solar electricity is sold to you at a lower rate than the fossil fuel electricity you've been buying from the electric company! Note: your PPA won't eliminate your power bill from your regular electric provider, because you'll still need energy from the grid when the sun isn't shining. But it will save you money!

The less-popular cousin of the third-party solar family is the solar lease. It's basically like renting your panels for a set monthly payment, and getting all the energy they produce—however much it is. Don't get spooked by that language, though. A typical solar lease comes with energy production guarantees that will make sure you're getting what you paid for. In fact, if you're not offered a production guarantee with a solar lease, walk away.

Here's the best part of third-party solar: whether you end up with a lease or a PPA, the installation company owns the panels and will do all the maintenance for you. Usually that means just a good cleaning every year, but if any part of that system fails, you're off the hook! That can be a great benefit to homeowners who are risk averse.

Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Ohio. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar lease or PPA, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Home Solar Power: PPA vs. Purchasing

To PPA, or not to PPA? Willsolar Shakespanels would be proud we're discussing this. Here's the basic deal. If you choose to lease your panels, you benefit from no out of pocket costs and an immediately reduced total electricity payment. Because of this, many regard this option as a no-brainer, since there isn't any downside to think of. The only hiccup you'll start to experience is when you consider the long term financial benefit of owning the solar panel system yourself.

In many situations, if you can afford the outlay or can easily secure financing, the cost of the install becomes an investment with a return outpacing even the strongest performing mutual funds. In addition, there's significantly less principal risk, since the energy credits you will be producing are tied to the sun coming up in the morning instead of our financial markets!

Additionally, if you go the PPA route, you must forfeit all the credits and performance payments you would receive by owning the system yourself to the solar PPA company (after all, that's how they can afford to give you such a no-brainer proposition in the first place).

orange square  Solar Loans in Ohio

You don't need $19,000 sitting around to pay for solar. As long as you have equity in your home, you can still own solar panels and reap all the benefits. Heck, even if you do have the cash, getting a loan to pay for solar is by far the best option when it comes to percentage return on investment.

That’s because, in Ohio, using a loan to pay for solar is like investing in a business that's sure to succeed, and also earns you a tax break. That's right: a HUGE tax break!. You'll come out thousands ahead this year, and you'll still see a handsome profit over the 25-year life of your system.

A solar purchase like this will make sense for you if the following is true about you and your current situation:

  • You can qualify for a solar loan or home-equity line of credit (HELOC) for $18,750, with a fixed rate of 4% or lower and a 15-year repayment period. Don't be put off if you're offered a higher rate. It just means a tiny bit less of the thousands of dollars you'll make with solar.
  • You love making money without much risk.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for an Ohio homeowner who makes a solar purchase with a loan:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $18,750. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $667, but your annual loan payments will be $1,664, meaning you'll spend $997 on solar this year, but...
  • You'll also see a huge tax break. The Feds give you 30% of the cost of your system back as a tax credit, which in this case is $5,625. You'll be paying over time but getting the benefits up front!
  • But wait, there's more! On top of the electric bill savings, you'll earn special Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) for the first 5 years your system is running. You'll get one each time your system produces a megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity, and our example 5-kW will earn you about 5.5 SRECs each year. You can sell your SRECs to the utility company for about $12 a piece, putting an estimated $67 in your pocket.
  • All those incentives mean you'll come out $4,694 ahead after year 1. Your loan payments will be about $83/month more than your energy bill savings, but that difference will get smaller as the utility company raises rates every year.
  • By the time you've paid off your loan after 2031, you'll see yearly savings of more than $1,000. After 25 years, your total profit will be $4,596!
  • On top of the green that will stay in your pocket, your system will mean green for the environment, too. 93 trees-worth, every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Ohio. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

green square  Buying Solar in Ohio

An outright purchase used to be the only way to get solar, and it's still the option that provides the "biggest" financial returns. The reason we put "biggest" in quotes here is because it's technically true, but based on percent return for the money, a loan is a better option.

If you'd rather make monthly payments instead of putting $19,000 down on a solar system, and if you have equity in your home or can get a large loan with an interest rate of 4% or less, a loan is the option to go with. It's like being able to start a business that is sure to succeed, just by having a roof. Read about loans below.

If you've got cash and you prefer to pay up front, you'll have to plunk down $18,750, but tax breaks and energy savings will erase a bunch of that after just 1 year. Over 25 years, your system will have produced about $11,000 in income, after your system cost is paid back. The reason this works is that solar offsets your electricity costs—enough to save you about $667 in year 1, and it just goes up from there. As the electric company raises rates, you save more and more, and more...

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for a 5-kW rooftop solar system in Ohio:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $18,750. That's cheaper than solar has ever been, but it still might seem like a big investment. Don’t worry, because after tax breaks and energy savings, your first-year costs will be considerably less than that.
  • The Feds calculate their incentive based on actual out of pocket costs, so take 30% of $18,750, for a tax credit of $5,625.
  • After the tax credit we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be $667. That reduces your cost after the first year to only $12,458.
  • But wait, there's more! On top of the electric bill savings, you'll earn special Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) for the first 5 years your system is running. You'll get one each time your system produces a megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity, and our example 5-kW will earn you about 5.5 SRECs each year. You can sell your SRECs to the utility company for about $12 a piece, putting an estimated $67 in your pocket.
  • Your system will pay for itself with electric bill savings in 15 years, and you'll see a total net profit of $10,811 before the end of your panels' 25-year warranty. The internal rate of return for this investment is a solid 5.2%. Nearly as good and more reliable than the stock market!
  • And don't forget... your home's value just increased by more than $9,5000, too ( the NPV of your expected electricity savings over 20 years).
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil fuels. It's like planting 93 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Ohio. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

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Ohio Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in Ohio:

RPS

12.5% by 2026

Grade: D

Ohio's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

A Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) requires utilities in the state to eventually source at least a certain percentage of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like solar panels.

Ohio has a weak RPS, mandating that only 12.5% of all energy must come from renewable sources by 2026. Compred to other states, 12.5% is a pretty sad, and they just pushed the standard back two years from its long term goal. The program includes a specific target of 0.5% of total energy just from Ohio solar panels, but that, too, falls short of the goals in the best solar states.

Ohio’s RPS is critical to strong renewable energy policy. Utility companies aren't really all that gung-ho about you producing your own power. After all, it costs them money when you use less of their electricity. They also don’t naturally want to give you big payments for energy you're feeding back into the grid. The main reason the utilities are aiding your transition to lower electric bills and offering you incentives to put solar on your roof is because the state forces them to. If the utilities don't hit their RPS numbers, they have to pay large fees back to the state.

What's an RPS? Your state legislature paves the way for strong solar energy incentives to flourish by setting standards for renewable energy generation within their territories. Those standards are called the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). If utility companies do not meet these standards, they must pay alternative compliance fees directly to the state. Many utilities then determine the best ways to source their energy from renewable sources that are less expensive than this fee.

An RPS is a mandate that says "Hey utilities! Y'all now have to make a certain percentage of your electricity from renewable sources. If not, you'll have to pay us huge fines." The consequences are good, because utilities usually try to meet these RPS standards by creating solar power incentives for you, the homeowner. Read more about Renewable Portfolio Standards.

RPS solar carve out

.5% by 2024

Grade: D

Ohio's Solar Carve-out grade

As we mentioned above, Ohio’s RPS specifies that 0.5% of all electricity must come from solar. If that doesn’t seem like a lot, you’re right; it’s not. Still, there are some incentives out the for solar in Ohio, if you know where to look. Luckily, we do.

What's a solar set aside? A solar set aside guarantees a specific portion of the overall renewable energy mix generated comes from the sun. For those states with progressive standards, high alternative compliance payments, and clear solar carve outs, the faster those areas become ripe for solar.

Some states have higher alternative compliance fees than others, and some states have more progressive alternative energy standards and deadlines than others do.

For instance, New Jersey has an overall RPS of 22.5% by the year 2021. That requires local utilities to source 22.5% of their energy mix from renewable sources by the year 2021. Pretty good. However, New Jersey also has a specific solar set aside of 4.1% by 2028. That’s the type of firm commitment which really gets the industry rolling forward. No wonder why New Jersey is one of the hottest solar markets right now!

Ohio Electricity Prices

$0.12/kwh

Grade: C

Ohio's Electricity cost grade

Electricity in Ohio is pretty cheap at just 13 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). But we here at Solar Power Rocks think it’s still too cheap. Okay, we know you like your energy bills low, but bear with us. All that cheap energy comes from dirty old coal and other fossil fuels. Remember all that natural beauty in Ohio? We’ve got to protect it. Let’s think of a way to do that and maybe make some money too. Hmm… how about… SOLAR POWER!?

Seriously though, whatever you think of fossil fuels, new regulations and future scarcity of supply are going to cause prices to rise. And people who make the switch to solar and other renewable now are gonna look pretty darn smart in 20 years when everyone’s paying two or three times as much for electricity in twenty years. We’re talking Einstein-level here.

Why are electricity prices so important? Because that is what solar power is directly competing against. The cost to produce power with solar is relatively constant (of course how much sun hits your area has an effect), so if you are paying $0.40 per watt for power, then you make FOUR TIMES AS MUCH as the guy or girl paying $0.10 per watt electricity.

The caveat here is that if the $0.10 per watt person has a HUGE rebate, they may be better off than the $0.40 per watt person. Because of that, states without any renewable standards tend to be heavily reliant on cheap coal for electricity, and also have very low electricity prices. When electricity prices are artificially low, that hinders the ability of solar energy to achieve meaningful payback in the state.

Ohio Net Metering

A

Grade: A

Ohio's Net Metering grade

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for the surplus.

Ohio has one of the nation’s strongest net metering laws for residential customers, but that might be changing soon. A proposal regarding changes to the net metering policy is wending its way slowly through the Public Utilities commission. It's unlcear what will happen when the PUC makes its final determination, but watch this space for updates.

Currently, all utilities in Ohio must offer net metering to residential customers. All net excess generation (“NEG”) credit is carried over to your next bill at the utility’s “unbundled generation” rate (this is different from the full retail rate that was paid a few years ago, but your savings should not be significantly affected). That month-to-month carry over is pretty standard. Ohio separates itself from the pack as one of the handful of states that allows you to request a check for any credits accumulated over the course of a 12-month billing cycle. That’s right – if you run a surplus for the year, the utility company will actually pay you.

What is net metering? Net metering is the billing arrangement where you can sell excess electricity back to your utility for equal the amount you are charged to consume it. The more customer friendly net metering policies, the higher the grade.

The grade here specifically reflects individual solar system capacity, caps on program capacity limits, restrictions on “rollover” of kWh from one month to the next (yep just like cell phone minutes), metering issues (like charges for new meters), Renewable Energy Credit (REC) ownership, eligible customers and technology (the more renewables the better), being able to aggregate meters across the property for net metering, and safe harbor provisions to protect customers from solar tariff changes.

Ohio Interconnection Rules

C

Ohio's Interconnection Standards grade

Interconnection in Ohio is also very strong for residential customers. All systems under 10kw qualify for a simplified review process that makes it quick and easy for you to get onto the grid and start raking in those net metering savings. There are no requirements for separate liability insurance – an unnecessary cost we’ve seen imposed in some other states, but there is a requirement for a redundant external disconnect switch, even for small producers for whom such a switch makes little sense.

Interconnection rules are a little technical, but they basically allow you to “plug in” to the electric grid with solar panels on your roof. The more complex, out of date, or nonsensical the state rules are for plugging into the grid, the lower the grade.

Specifically, the grade reflects what technologies are eligible, individual system capacity, removing interconnection process complexity for smaller systems, interconnection timelines and charges, engineering charges, prohibiting the requirement of unnecessary external disconnects, certification, spot interconnection vs. wide area interconnection, technical screens, friendliness of legalese, insurance requirements, dispute resolution, and rule coverage.

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Solar Incentives in Ohio

Ohio Solar Power Rebates

None

Grade: F

Ohio's Solar Rebates grade

AEP, one of Ohio’s largest utilities, had a sweet rebate program that paid customers up to $12,000 just for putting solar panels on their houses. Unfortunately, in a state without robust RPS requirements, the rebate was allowed to expire. There is currently no statewide rebate program in Ohio, meaning the picture is looking pretty bleak here.

How do solar rebates work? Similar to getting a rebate card from your local big box store for a dishwasher purchase, state legislatures also provide rebates for solar panel purchases to spur on investment and create new jobs. If you purchase the solar panel system yourself, you qualify for this free cash, which many times is a lump payment back to you. Some solar installers like to take this amount directly off the total installed price, and they'll handle the paperwork for you to make things a lot less complex.

The availability of state and utility rebates were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The better the rebates, the higher the grade.

Ohio Solar Power Tax Credits

None

Grade: F

Ohio's Solar Tax Credits grade

Unlike many other states, Ohio does not offer any tax credits to help with the installation of your new solar power system. Not to worry, though; you still qualify for the federal government’s 30% tax credit, which is a really sweet deal.

About state solar tax credits: State tax credits are not technically free money. However, they are 'credits' and not 'deductions' which means that if you have the tax appetite to take advantage of them, then they can be a 1-to-1 dollar amount off your taxes instead of a fraction of the cost of the system. So that means they can be an important factor to consider. In certain circumstances, state tax credits can provide a very powerful incentive for people to go solar.

(Keep in mind, we are not tax professionals and give no tax advice so please consult a professional before acting on anything we say related to taxes)

The availability of personal tax credits for solar energy were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the tax credit amount, the higher the grade.

Solar Power Performance Payments

SREC Market

Grade: C

Ohio's Solar Performance Payments grade

Ohio offers performance incentives on solar power production by building Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECS) directly into the state’s RPS. For every one megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar (or other renewable energy based) electricity a generator produces, they get one SREC. Utilities must either produce or purchase enough SRECs to meet their RPS requirements. As a homeowner, that means your utility company will be motivated to purchase SRECs from you as you produce solar power.

By establishing alternative compliance payments (ACPs) for every SREC a utility misses, the state legislature helps keep the SREC market stable. For 2014 through 2016, the ACP is $300 for the equivalent of every REC a utility is short. In a state with a strong RPS and solar carve-out, this would be great news, because the utility would be motivated to purchase your SRECs at prices near the ACP price.

In Ohio, however, the last few years have seen enough solar development to meet Ohio’s meager RPS requirements, and SREC prices are around $15, down from $400 back in 2010. Ouch.

All this means that you’ll still make a few bucks on your SRECs, but not much more than $100 a year.

Explanation of performance payments: Performance payments represent a big chunk of the financial rationale for going solar, and in many instances they make your decision a wise one. For certain states, if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, not only will you be cutting your electric bill down to size, but you'll be getting paid additional cash from your utility company. Pretty awesome, huh? Not only are you generating electricity for yourself, freezing your own popsicles with sun, and feeling like you’re doing something smart for your children or any of the other 4 reasons people go solar, but you are getting PAID!

Utility companies are paying people with solar panels on their roofs because their states say they have to, otherwise they will pay a fee. Therefore, the payment amount to homeowners is typically a little bit less than the amount they would be billed for by the state. For states with these alternative compliance fees, Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) exchanges have popped up. In the above chart, we outlined an estimate of yearly payments a homeowner might expect from the utility company for the SREC credits from their solar energy system.

Expected SREC payments were calculated by using the latest trade values in the SRECtrade database. The availability of feed-in tariffs were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the expected monthly payments, the higher the grade.

If you don’t know what an SREC is, or how they work, check out this great SREC video

Property Tax Exemption

Varies by city

Grade: C

Ohio's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

Here’s some great news: the value of your home goes up when you install solar panels. Here’s some okay news: The cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati will let you keep that extra home value off the property tax rolls for many years to come. Here's some not-so-good news: the rest of the state has property tax relief only for commercial solar installations. Boo, Ohio.

About solar property tax exemptions: Property tax exemption status is a pretty big factor when putting together your investment considerations. Many argue that solar power adds approximately 20 times your annual electricity bill savings (if you are owning the system and not leasing. Leasing still has a positive impact on the ability to sell your home though, in our opinion).

For many average-sized solar power systems on a house, that can mean $20,000 to your home value. (Edit April, 2014: Some companies, like Solar Mosaic, are starting to offer traditional style equity-based home loans for such a thing). An additional $20,000 in property tax basis in many states amounts to a big chunk of change owed back to the state. However, many states have complete exemptions from added taxes when you install solar on your home!

The availability of a property tax exemption for solar energy was also sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The stronger the tax exemption, the higher the grade.

Sales Tax Exemption

100%

Grade: A

Ohio's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

Ohio also has a sales tax exemption, meaning you’ll save 5.75% on the purchase of your new system.

What's the deal with solar power sales tax exemptions? When states give you a sales tax break on solar, we notice. You should too. State sales tax exemption status for the purchase of solar energy systems were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Sales tax exemptions, if present, were all 100%. A handful of states are completely exempt from sales tax regardless, and therefore received ‘A’ grades by default (OR, DE, MT, AK, and NH).

The consensus on Ohio solar power rebates and incentives

With a meager RPS and solar carve-out, there are aren’t many good incentives in Ohio to make solar an attractive and lucrative investment over the long term. Those tax exemptions are just as good here as they can get, but the performance of SRECs is disappointing. Here’s hoping we see a renewed commitment to increasing renewable energy in Ohio, and with it a return to strong SREC prices. Without those things, Ohioans can look forward to solar as a mediocre investment and a way to help save the planet, but not much more. Right now, we’ll give Ohio a “C+” for trying, but you’re ON NOTICE, Ohio—shape up or risk being branded a solar failure.

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62 thoughts on “Ohio Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

  1. o m hicks says:

    where is your office ???

  2. Joe says:

    Would like to see every roof on this planet be solar panel.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We live a little south of Findlay, OH and have no trees of any kind in our 4 acre lot, and are extremely interested in solar panels on our property.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We up-graded our ‘geothermal system’ last year and had a 9kW ‘grid-tied’ solar system installed. I am having trouble getting our energy credits from our ‘electric company’ (DP&L), I need help!

    1. Ben Zientara says:

      Hi there. Not sure what kinds of credits you’re talking about, but since DP&L offers no rebates, maybe you mean Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). The SRECs are actually generated based on the power your system produces, and you get one for every Megawatt (MW) of electricity. Unfortunately, Ohio has taken a step back in the fight for good solar policy, and the state now allows utilities to purchase RECs from adjacent states, driving SREC prices down.

      DP&L does maintain a page with information about selling your SRECs to them that might help a little. Good luck!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I live in Lorain County Ohio in an all electric home, and would like any updates in changes that Ohio makes towards incintives and credits in the near future. I would love to volunteer my house for any “green energy” initiative be it solar, geo thermal or wind alternitive power.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We live on the east side of Columbus, Ohio and would love to learn more and perhaps be involved in a solar energy program.

  7. Anonymous says:

    we live outside of lancaster and I am interested in getting solar power

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would be very interested in participating in a demonstration program! My roof is 2 years old and in good shape. My home was build in 1952. Please email me

  9. Charles Yocum says:

    Building a brand new home in the Toronto Steubenville area out in the country. 3500 sq ft home looking to be a test home property for self sustained power wind/solar (Willing to throw in money of course). Please contact me by email or phone 7403176634

  10. Laura says:

    Karen, I just happened upon your post. This is a little delayed- so you may have already found what you were looking for- but if not you should check out Community Renewable Energy (http://communityrenewableenergynow.com) based in Columbus. They work with non profits and mission driven for-profits to help them put financing together to install solar on their sites. Even an initial conversation will help you figure out your options.

    Best!
    Laura

  11. Karen Morison says:

    I run a 12 unit apartment building in Toledo and we want to transfer to solar or something ssimilar. We would love to know our options and what programs are out there. The building is owned by a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. We have electricity and gas.

    1. Laura says:

      Karen, I just happened upon your post. This is a little delayed- so you may have already found what you were looking for- but if not you should check out Community Renewable Energy (http://communityrenewableenergynow.com) based in Columbus. They work with non profits and mission driven for-profits to help them put financing together to install solar on their sites. Even an initial conversation will help you figure out your options.

      Best!
      Laura

  12. Kyle Stewart says:

    Looking to build a brand new home spring of ’13. Would love to demo any new equipment

  13. Rick Brink says:

    I have 38 acres located aprox. 1 half mile south of lake Erie. This property is in Lucas county and we have great wind all year long. I would like to become a wind farm and possibly a soar farm also. Anyone know some in investors or companies that want to test the region for alternative energy?

  14. Robert Cox says:

    I live in elyria Ohio would be very interest using my house has a demo for soloar or wind energy

  15. I just completed the Solar PV installation class at Owens @ am considering putting a solar array on my home I would like information on getting all the rebates and incentives for this project and would like to know if it is legal for me to install my own system, being a homeowner.

  16. Great post. Keep us update with your developments!

  17. Lisa says:

    We have a business in Carroll County and are very intereted in Wind/Solar Energy. We would love to be a demo site; we have 10 acres available.

  18. Cathy says:

    We live in Waynesville, OH (between Dayton and Cincinnati) and would love to be a demo home. We live in a 2800 sq ft ranch and the full range of the back side of our home is south facing.

  19. Jay and Danielle Bartos says:

    My wife and I are interested in being a demo home for solar energy in the Columbus area(Fairfield county-Pickerington).

  20. Stephen says:

    I live about 7 miles north of downtown Columbus. I have a 2 story home where the 2nd story roof looks good to place solar panels on. I am looking for information on the initial cost vs saving, any grants or incentives and to be a test home.

  21. Darrel & sheila Wooton says:

    Darrel – my wife and I are interested in converting to Solar if there’s assistance available through the government.
    Please contact us with the advantage potential after we move in this direction.

  22. Elizabeth Albright says:

    I am interested in having my home converted over to solar, geo-thermal, and wind energy. I live near a small shopping center, on a well traveled road near the Air Force Museum in Riverside. I would like to find out more about any grants to convert or to be a test home (my location could be good for advertising).

  23. kenneth brunner says:

    I am interested in letting my home be a test home for solar, geo-thermal, and wind energy. I like to be able to report the energy saving. our budget it tight. we have 6 in our older 1932 built home

  24. Jiya says:

    First off if we are going to subsidize these thing shouldn’t they be manufactured in our state? Oh wait that makes to much sense for our politicians.

    Secondly, how many people that are complaining about the look of these things are global warming advocates? Did you know that they want to build a wind farm in the desert in California? The same tree huggers who want to go green are stopping it because of an endangered squirrel.

  25. Ollie says:

    Does anyone know where to go get certified to put up solar panels? Otherwise you dont get any federal and state incentives if you DIY

  26. Rob says:

    We live in north Toledo Ohio,just off of lake erie. Our home was built in 1918 and has an old solar hot water system and 400 square feet of passive solar panels on the south side. We are very interested in a large pv array on our garage and need more information on contractors, grants, and incentives in our area.

  27. Geoffrey says:

    my family lives in Lawrence county along the ohio river.I am very interested in being a demo home for solar and/or wind powerwith a grid tie in.

  28. Interested in Solar says:

    I live between Dayton and Cincinnati. I am interest in being a demo home for solar and wind power.

  29. Dan Hahn says:

    Of course Emily,

    What site are you referring to? Our last post was just days ago.

  30. Emily says:

    Is your site still active? Last post December 2009.

  31. NanaB says:

    Lets put solar panels on the south side of 1000 (500ft long) poultry houses in the southeast. The electricity can be sold to power companies and the money used to panel new houses. There are 21000 broiler houses in the US. Then we can do the hog, egg, dairy, turkey houses. Then we can do large buildings and homes and the sun will pay for 99% of it. Then we can switch to electric cars and tell OPEC where to go. Think of the jobs producing the panels and installing them.

  32. Nate Allen says:

    In Germany, homeowners are rewarded for installing solar panels on their homes. They don’t use batteries to store the energy they collect, but rather convert it to AC current and put it back into the grid. For each kilowatt they put into the grid, they are paid more than twice the normal amount the electric company charges per kilowatt used. If we really want to encourage consumer investment in renewable resources, we need to show folks that there can be short term financial rewards, as well as the long term environmental and financial benefits.

  33. Iam interested in updating my home to solar energy, reason I think that is the wave,rays of the future. I am a senior and find I need to save. I’m going back to work teaching. I want my students to do research on Solar energy and Wind power. I want them to think of ways to bring solar and wind power to Ohio. Perhaps generating jobs for themselves and others in the near future.

  34. Rick says:

    I am very interested in solar industry, am currently working for a licensed electrician, Am wondering what it takes to become certified to install. Also what does it take to get the rebates. Can we install a system ourselves as a licensed electrician and still get the rebates?

  35. melvin north says:

    I am very interested and motivated to install my own solar, wind, and bio-fuel green, energy self-sustaining home systems. I live in an urban older, decaying city in Ohio. I need financial assistance and government incentives in order to achieve my objective. How do I make this happen this summer 2009.

  36. Dan Hahn says:

    James,

    Great to hear that and best of luck with your new business!

    Cheers,

    – Dan

  37. james says:

    I have just launched a solar PV, solar thermal and wind turbine installer business in the dayton area. One of the first in this area I believe. I have the first PV array at my own home in Kettering in 20 yrs. The inspector could not remember ever inspecting one. I am open for business.

  38. greg says:

    I would like to know if there is a full service solar power installer in NE Ohio that also helps in securing grants and government funding for residential installs.

  39. donald miller says:

    i would like to build a wind generator of my own, is there anyone out there that can help me, also i would like to build my own solar panels. so if you are interested in this,contact me

  40. Derek McClellan says:

    I am 18 years old and Live in Bristolville, And I am working on implementing Solar and “green” devices and ideas of my own into my family’s house and would like to get some more information on the solar panels. I also think that as for a Demo house, My Solar ideas meshed with Solar Panels and Turbines could be almost 100% green and double as a Great Example for others. Thanks again

  41. Herman Boykin says:

    I live in a country setting and we are paying above avarage gas prices here in Swanton Ohio.I would like to try solar energy in my place. But I can’t aford it.So If any one have any good ideals for me,I am open for suggestions.Or if you need a home to model your products am imterested.

  42. DWAYNE SILER says:

    I currently own 4acres in Cincinnati(inside city limits) That sits on top of a hill. I am building a new log home 40×50 starting in July 2009. This project will be a big news to the city. I plan to go solar. this may be a project we can work on togather!!!

  43. Mark Witsken says:

    I’d be interested in finding out if there are any places where a person could access USED ‘standard’ sized solar panels, from re-po’ed homes or wherever.
    We have a home in Springboro OH with a wonderful southern roof exposure, that is also ‘ramped’ well above the neighbors’ houses & trees on that side.

  44. Honey says:

    Hello. We are a family of 5 living in between Middletown & Germantown, Ohio. We have a bit over an acre & are looking to go completly renewable. We are currently in the process of producing biodiesel to run our furnace. We are wanting to see about using wind since we pretty much have to replace the roof every year due to the wind tearing it off & are replacing about 2 squares thoughout the year. We are also in the process of putting together a green house that will be heated by a compost pile & circulating water.
    We’re very big believers in natural & organic & are interested in meeting others who are also.
    If you are interested in meeting another family or if you are a solar/wind company looking for a family to use as guinea pigs just hollar!
    Oh, we are also looking for info over a solar hot water heater & how to develop your own in floor heating. (We’re big on DIY! ;) )

    Thanks! HoneyNBenNKids AT Gmail.com
    Just pop solar rocks in the subject please!

    Honey

  45. KJK says:

    My Wife and I are in the process of purchasing a home in Cuyahoga County and are very interested in solar technology. We would definitely be interested in more info on test/demo project. Thanks!

  46. JIM HENRY says:

    I would love to be involved! I face direct south and want to use it the right way. A lot of people say it won’t work , but I know it will.

  47. Jeff, solar technology has not changed that much in the last 50 years. About half a century has passed and we’ve only doubled efficiency. On the other hand there are people who have had systems installed in the 60s who are still generating electricity, and are laughing all the way to the bank at the people who wait and wait and wait.

    The reason the technology is not available is not the fault of contractors, it’s because it’s not available at all. It’s still in lab and the outrageous claims about price and output will often fall short.

    PV panels work and will last for decades. Get some now and start saving energy costs today. No new whizbang stuff is going to drastically change the game in 5 years, and thinfilm doesn’t work on small residential applications at the moment.

  48. Jeff Cummins says:

    in the next year We are looking to remodel our home I’ve speent countless hours looking for products on the solar level and wind power I’ve seen numerous shows on tv and mutipule info on the net but nothig with the latest solor technology if im spending money i want the best avalable not out dated systems I’m in the construction industry and am appauled at the avalability of technologythat is avalable I know we should be able to buy matireals and install them without an assanine price tag would greatly appreciate any info thank you

  49. Jessica says:

    We live in a Historic home in Downtown Dayton where the Wright Brothers were born. Our home is located within a National Historic Park. We are interested in converting our home to solar panels and maybe some wind turbines. If you are looking for a demo we would be thrilled to be chosen.

  50. angee says:

    I have moved to the country and have discovered that my electric is more expensive. People in my same zip code are
    spending less. I need a better sorce of energy. My heat is desil and firewood. I have a pond and 9 acers I thought geo themal might be a way to go. I just need some help to make this home more efficent. send info please

  51. kathy says:

    Renovating a lake front A-frame in Stark Co., Ohio. We have to install new furnace & water heater so we will demo down to the studs in most areas for new plumbing & wiring. We are planning to use ADA design in many areas to meet my husbands medical needs. I could use any help & information you could give me. I think this house would make a great test/demo project. Thank you

  52. Carrie says:

    My husband and I live in Dayton would love to be a demo home or get info on solar power for our home.

  53. Jennifer says:

    I also am looking for more detailed information on solar power. Our home/roof get wonderful sun all day. We think it would be very beneficial, but are concerned with cost, details, etc.

  54. Sandy Owens says:

    My husband and I are interested in learning more about converting our home to solar power. We are willing to offer our home as a site for a workshop/demo. We are in the greater Clevleand area.

  55. Josh Maas says:

    I am in the process of buying a small home on the lake and would like to make it fully solar powered and need some info on who I can talk to about grants if any as well as a complany that can install

  56. Dan Hahn says:

    Thanks for the info Lois!

  57. Lois Hinrichs says:

    For Scott:
    I found this information on the Web: There’s a Northwest Ohio Green Energy Workshop on Monday, July 21, at the Toledo Zoo. This website has details:
    http://www.greenenergyohio.org/page.cfm?pageId=3

  58. Scott Klausing says:

    Located in southern van wert county, residential 5 acre site with good average wind according to maps. Looking to be demo/test home for wind turbine power.

  59. don sendelbach says:

    Live in the Akron . Canton area. Would like my home to be used as a demo / test home for solar power

  60. barb adkins says:

    looking to be a test home for solar or wind turbine energy

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