Like most of the Midwest, electricity prices in Ohio have steadily risen over the past decade. Energy costs are expected to continue rising, and that’s especially true in cities like Cleveland, where electric rates increased more than 15 percent in just one year. Fortunately, thanks to the state’s renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS), solar and other renewable energy sources have become more practical and attainable than ever before.
Ohio’s RPS policy dictates that at least 12.5 percent of electricity sold by the state’s utility companies must come from renewable energy sources by 2027. This renewable energy push, along with advances in technology and easier installation processes, has helped to lower the cost of solar power in Ohio by 53 percent over the last five years. So, are solar panels worth it in Ohio? More than 20,000 solar-powered homes – with many more expected to come – suggest they are indeed.
The average temperature in Ohio is expected to increase by more than five degrees over the next 50 years, which will significantly increase cooling costs. Ohio’s largest solar farm is currently being built atop a reclaimed landfill site.
Residents seeking to install solar panels in Ohio can expect to receive a few incentives to help keep costs down. First and foremost, any Ohio solar residents who buy their own solar power systems are eligible to receive the federal solar tax credit. Officially called the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC), this incentive provides a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the total purchase price of the solar system. This incentive can also be spread over multiple years for those whose yearly federal income taxes are not high enough to account for the entire credit value.
At the state level, Ohio provides several ways to make solar energy more enticing. The Energy Conservation for Ohioans (ECO-Link) program provides qualifying homeowners with an interest rate reduction of up to three percent on any loans that are used to purchase solar systems or other energy-efficient upgrades. This program lasts for up to seven years, which can save a significant amount of money in interest costs. Ohio also offers net metering to all its residents.
Net metering is a program that monitors the generation and consumption of energy for homes with solar energy systems, ensuring that each home has access to power from the grid when it’s needed and also offering utility bill credits when the home’s solar system generates surplus energy.
Finally, Ohio is among a number of states that uses solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs). In order to encourage the adoption of solar energy in Ohio, the state awards homeowners one SREC for each megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated by their system. These SRECs can then be sold for a small profit, which helps to offset some of the cost of the solar system. The current sale price for SRECs in Ohio is $15 per certificate.
Every kilowatt-hour of solar energy produced in Ohio offsets more than two pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Solar arrays are being built on former landfill sites and in areas that have been heavily logged, helping to offset the environmental impact of these activities. Investing in solar power in Ohio has an excellent average rate of return of 5.2 percent. Installing a solar energy system can boost home values by $9,500 or more.
Though solar was once an extremely expensive technology, solar panels Ohio are now surprisingly affordable. In fact, prices have fallen by about 53 percent over the last five years alone. This trend will likely only continue as the state’s RPS mandates drive greater competition in the solar power Ohio market. Though the cost varies significantly depending on the location, the average cost of a solar panel system in Ohio after incentives is about $16,000. However, buying a system outright is not the only option.
An increasingly popular alternative is a solar lease or solar power purchase agreement (PPA). These options are sometimes advertised as free solar panels Ohio, but the truth is a little more complicated. It’s true that there is no up-front cost to the homeowner, but the process isn’t truly free. Under these free solar panels Ohio agreements, a company will install a solar panel system on top of a homeowner’s roof at no cost and then sell the generated energy back to the homeowner. This option is often more affordable than paying for traditional electricity, but it’s important to do the math to ensure that such an arrangement actually makes sense.
Ohio, like many Northeastern and Midwestern states, was built largely on manufacturing. The state relied on heavy industry and manufacturing jobs to fuel its prosperous cities and towns, but many of those jobs have evaporated over the past half-century. In solar, however, Ohio may have an opportunity to jump-start its sputtering economy and reinvigorate the cities and towns that have struggled to find their way after the decline of manufacturing.
More than 6,500 people are already employed in solar-related jobs in Ohio, and with additional investments and a greater commitment from the state, the solar industry could become a driving force in the Buckeye State for years to come.
Thanks to a number of incentives, continually falling prices and a government commitment to renewable energy, there’s no better time to join the push for a solar Ohio. Solar panels Ohio have never been more affordable while traditional utility rates have never been more expensive. Ohio homeowners can save $15,000 to $20,000 or more over the lifespan of a solar energy system while also doing their part to better the environment. To explore how you can put solar power to work for you, start with our simple and powerful solar calculator. If solar makes sense for you, we can connect you with vetted, experienced solar installers to get you on the way to a cheaper and greener energy existence today.
Interested in getting exact prices for the cost solar for your home? Get competitive solar quotes from qualified, trusted installers in your area. To see an estimate for how much you could expect to save and how much a solar system would cost, try our solar calculator.