Solar Case Study Dayton Ohio

We’ve loved getting to spend time with Dayton Ohio customer Ellis Willis over the past year. He’s a great solar advocate!   

Ellis is a retired city employee and adjunct professor at a local college.

He and his wife are very active with their family. They have young grandsons and one of the big reasons they wanted to go solar was to give them a better world to grow up in as they reduce their carbon footprint.  

Also, the financial perks made sense too… 

“Simply the day I turned my solar switch on, I turned my power bills off. My bills are zero. And typically, there is a small credit at the end of each month.”
Ellis Willis
Solar Homeowner, Dayton, Ohio

Small Businesses Powered by Solar in Ohio

Third Sun Solar is a supporter of Small Business Saturday! 

In the flurry of marketing holidays between Black Friday and Giving Tuesday, this important one comes right in the middle.  

The intention of the holiday is simple: bring more attention to small local businesses.  

We are participating this year by highlighting just a handful of small businesses that have gone solar with us.   

The businesses selected have retail products, so if you are looking for a unique gift for a loved one this holiday season, some of these Ohio Small businesses might be right up your alley!  

Little Fish Brewing Company

Solar Installation: Athens, OH, 2019
Little Fish Brewing Company in Athens, Ohio brews with a "farmhouse mentality" They get their inspiration from locally sourced ingredients and the majority of their grain comes from Ohio growers. They are powered by the sun, buy wind credits to offset the rest, and even have an EV charger available to guests.
Visit Website

Smith True Value Hardware

Solar Installation: Bellville, OH, 2015
Smith True Value Hardware was founded in 1977 when Brad and Karen Smith purchased the former business: “The House of Wood” They continued to provide their customers with gifts, crafts, paint, and some hardware for several years before deciding to become a full-service hardware store. In 1997 the business became a True Value affiliate.
Visit Website

Lance's Trailer Sales

Solar Installation: Athens, OH, 2017
Lance’s trailer sales is an authorized Featherlite, Exiss/Sooner, Sundowner, CornPro, Haulmark, RC, Diamond C, Moritz, ATC, PJ, and Carry-On dealer and also offer many brands of pre-owned trailers. They offer financing, parts and service in addition to sales.
Visit Website

The Feve

Solar Installation: Oberlin, OH, 2017
The Feve is a bar and restaurant in Oberlin Ohio that has been in business for over 30 years! They have everything from craft cocktails to burgers to vegetarian and vegan friendly menu options.
Visit Website

Jackie O's Brewery

Solar Installation: Athens, OH, 2016
Jackie O’s commitment to sustainability runs deep. They partner with Ohio farmers, Ohio artists and non-profit organizations and other Ohio businesses. Beyond environmental sustainability they focus on supporting the local economy by providing solid jobs for great people. They have beer, apparel, glassware, hats & more!
Visit Website

Village Bakery

Solar Installation: Athens, OH, 2010, 2013 expansion
Village Bakery's motto is: "Powered by the Wind, Soil and Sun, for Generations to Come!" They partner with farmers, food producers and other makers to offer their patrons a phenomenal section of food and non-food gifts.
Visit Website

Rural Action

Solar Installation: The Plains, OH, 2020
Rural Action's mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. UpCycle Thrift (one of a few social enterprises owned by Rural Action) is a great place to find unique, second-hand items while supporting zero waste efforts and an incredible non-profit!
Visit Website

Columbus Zoo

Solar Installation: Columbus, OH, 2020
Read more about the Columbus Zoo!
Visit Blog

Firenza Stone

Solar Installation: Eastlake, OH, 2019
Firenza stone is a fourth-generation family owned and operated business. They offer luxury countertops of marble and granite, to cabinetry, tile and flooring as well as design.
Visit Website

ACE Hardware, Baltimore OH

Solar Installation: Baltimore, OH, 2016
Did you know? ACE hardware is a member cooperative, and every ACE Hardware store is independently owned. When interviewed about the solar installation, Manager Rick Foreman said: “I went solar for the financial incentives; it’s all about the dollars and the cents really. Since my installation, I’ve been saving about 70-80 percent off my electricity bill. To put it simply, it’s been great.”
Visit Website

Offer Your Family the Gift of Solar Power

Have you ever searched for the perfect gift? Something meaningful that will have an ongoing impact on the life of your loved one for many years ahead. It’s hard to find a gift with lasting value.   

This holiday season, consider giving the gift of solar. Here’s why.   

  • The value of solar is significant over time – the recipient of the gift avoids electricity expenses (coupled with avoided inflation of electricity rates) over 30+ years.    
  • Solar increases the home value
  • Solar sets an example for future generations – Naturally, children are curious about solar panels when they’re installed and become inclined to learn about clean energy, their energy footprint, and all the ways their generation will grow to help protect the planet  
  • Solar creates goodwill in communities  
  • Solar supports a healthy lifestyle     

If you’re looking for a unique, impactful gift for someone special this holiday season, consider giving the gift of solar to a loved one.

There is no doubt that it will have a lasting impact.  

Are Solar Prices Going Up or Down?

by Geoff Greenfield, CEO

Are Solar Prices Going Up or Down?

As discussions about inflation become commonplace, many people are asking us if the price of going solar will be affected as well.

If prices ARE going up, this would certainly be a reversal of historic trends. Many that follow the industry have gotten used to a general expectation of falling prices.

Solar installers around the country have celebrated the significant price drops that accompanied widespread adoption and increased efficiency of the technology. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “Since 2014, the average cost of solar PV panels has dropped nearly 70%.”

Due to various factors, this trend has reversed, and solar costs are rising for the first time in recent memory.


What is Behind the Inflation in Solar Prices?

Several factors are driving this new upward cost curve.

You’re surely aware of the rising commodity prices and surging freight costs across the country. These factors have impacted everything from vehicles to kitchen ovens. Like all markets in the U.S., the solar industry is beginning to see the effects of inflation as we turn the corner into the new year.

The building blocks of a solar system include copper, aluminum, steel, and electrical components. Copper is needed for solar inverters and electric cabling. Aluminum and steel make up the solar panel racking and panel frames. As the global economy comes back from Covid-19, and economies are “stimulated” with low interest rates, demand is booming while supplies are struggling to keep up.

The economists predict that these materials will continue to rise in price in 2022 and perhaps beyond.

The other major ingredient in a solar system is the people needed to do everything from the engineering work to bolting the modules to the rooftops. Just as the wait at your favorite restaurant is longer due to staffing shortages, the solar industry has their help wanted signs up as they seek to hire and train the workforce needed to meet the growing demand for clean energy.

Wages are rising to attract quality team members and compete with the other booming sectors of the economy. Across the board, positions are harder to fill.


What Does This Mean for People Planning to Go Solar?

Many solar installers have begun raising their prices, and others are planning to as they sell older inventory and are faced with buying more expensive material.

Facing a more competitive labor pool, installers are raising prices to keep up with higher payrolls.

These cost increases have driven up prices. Solar panel prices have jumped 16%, and total prices have risen 12%, according to a press release by Rastad Energy. The forecast is for more of the same throughout 2022.

Could it Get Worse?

While the modest inflation impacting solar is undoubtedly a change in direction from steadily declining prices, several variables could make this inflation more dramatic.

In a significant development in the global marketplace, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is beginning to enforce “Withhold Release Orders” on imported solar modules containing silicon from China’s Shaanxi Provence over concerns about the use of forced labor.

While many solar modules are made from material from other regions, systems to track and prove this do not yet exist, and industry experts are worried that even “ethical” solar module shipments may be held at the border.

Another area that could further raise prices is the efforts of several manufacturers to increase tariffs on imported modules – not just from China but from a host of Asian nations.

Finally, while we have discussed costs, rising demand is the other market signal leading to higher prices. The recently passed infrastructure bill is predicted to further drive up commodity and construction labor prices. The pending “Build Back Better” bill promises to incentivize further solar development, driving up demand in an already hot market.


What Can We Do?

As prices increase due to all these factors, deciding when or if to go solar is more important than ever.

We recommend our customers carefully evaluate their circumstances – no two households or businesses are the same.

One of the important variables is “the cost of waiting”: each month of buying costly dirty utility power is a month that could be filled with the savings of clean energy. We predict that despite the slight rise in costs, the demand for solar will continue to rise, and the limited schedule for established quality solar installers will fill quickly, especially as hiring to meet growing demand is a challenge.

If you have an older solar quote, it is possible that the current rise in prices is partially or completely offset by the historic reduction in costs that the industry has benefitted from over the past several years.

Even if your costs are going up, securing your space in the install schedule is likely to pay off as deferred savings are a lost opportunity.

Our guidance for you: gather updated information, evaluate your own personal situation, and make the right decision for you.

How To Compare Solar Quotes

Each solar company has its unique solar quote.

Several critical pieces of information should be consistent when you compare solar quotes.

We know comparing apples to oranges can be difficult, so we’ve created a checklist of items you need to watch out for when you’re considering which solar company to hire.

The information we’ve chosen to highlight is based on what we’ve seen in other proposals shown to us by our customers.


1. Solar Module Manufacturer

It’s essential to know the specifics of what equipment your installer will be supplying you. Although it can be difficult to trace exactly where a panel is made, make sure the manufacturer and model name are identified in your solar quote so you can verify that the panel manufacturer is reputable.

Keep in mind, the industry standard for a panel warranty is around 25 years. You will need to establish the likelihood that the manufacturer will honor your warranty during that time.

2. Warranties

Solar Panels

Solar panels degrade gradually over time with exposure to sunlight, wind, and weather. Panels are typically warranted 25–30 years and have a design lifespan of over 30 years. Energy production is expected to degrade by about one-half of one percent per year.


Inverters are warranted for 10–15 years and have an expected lifespan of 15–20 years. You may need to replace an inverter once in the system’s lifetime, and we figure that cost into our financial predictions.


Any home improvement typically has a “workmanship warranty” covering the quality of the work done. This promise from the contractor that they will install things correctly generally is two years. In the solar installation business, warranties often range from 2-5 Years, sometimes up to 10.

We rolled out our 20-year workmanship warranty in our twentieth year of business to give our customers peace of mind when they go solar.

3. Production Factors

Watch out for fluff! Production factors should be based on:

  • Azimuth
  • Tilt
  • Shade
  • Climate Data
  • Inverter efficiencies

Some companies will add in some “fluff” to the numbers to make their quote look better. We have enough confidence to guarantee our customer’s production because we always confirm our solar production estimates with a physical in-person site assessment to take accurate orientation, tilt, and shading measurements!


4. Solar Production Guarantee

Your most considerable risk in solar is that the system doesn’t perform as you were told it would.

We believe that the homeowner should not be liable for that risk.

As a solar installer, we back our production estimates with a performance guarantee.


5. How are they estimating the increase in energy prices in the future?

Your solar company must know your current energy rate to project your system’s lifetime solar savings potential. If this number is wrong, the accuracy of their estimate of the financial benefit of the system will be off from the beginning.

We have seen some installers grossly overestimate how the cost of energy will rise in the future to make the solar system look like it has a greater return on investment or quicker payback. Make sure the current electricity price and price escalation rate are presented clearly on any solar quote you consider! The rate used dramatically affects the economics and the system value.


6. Bundling energy efficiency upgrades

Watch out for:

  • Unverified energy audits
  • Estimated utility savings from efficiency upgrades built into the projected solar system savings

Energy-efficient homes indeed help a homeowner maximize their solar purchase. We know of a few solar companies that bundle energy efficiency upgrades with their solar installation.

While this is great, watch out for these red flags:

For starters, there is no way to model the actual energy saving these upgrades have, so there is no way to do economic modeling for the estimated cost savings of the upgrades.

Second, some solar installers roll the projected energy savings into the solar system payback analysis. When installers add energy efficiency upgrades to the solar system payback analysis, they mislead customers about the actual capabilities of the system’s performance.

8. Installer Accreditation

Looking at reviews can make a world of difference when evaluating your solar partner. Beyond the Better Business Bureau, Google Reviews, and other review sites, there are a few accreditations that you’ll want to keep in mind.

  • Does the installer hold an electrical license? Find out here.
  • NABCEP Certification is the most respected, well-established, and widely recognized certification organization for professionals in renewable energy. A company that employs NABCEP certified individuals shows a commitment to the industry standards and practices.
  • Dun & Bradstreet – is the solar installation company you’re working with in good financial standing? Remember: your solar installation is a long-term investment. You’ll want to work with a company that demonstrates that they’ll be around for the long haul to assist you if any warranty claims arise or if your system needs maintenance down the line.


A solar energy system is a big investment and comparing solar quotes is one of the first steps in the journey. Our biggest takeaway is to choose a solar installer you trust.


Solar Case Study Cleveland Heights Ohio

Natalie Lucas went solar in 2019. Funny enough Natalie works remotely for a solar installer herself, StraightUp Solar in Illinois and Missouri.  

Natalie is a true believer in renewable energy and doing the right thing by the plant – which is one reason she chose to go with Third Sun Solar.  

She loves watching trends in her solar production. We enjoyed talking with Natalie a few years after her installation to hear her perspective!   

Learn more about installing solar in Ohio here!   

“Pretty much everything I do tries to reduce my carbon footprint. I have chickens to try to reduce any animal products we do use. I have a compost bin. I have an Electric Car that’s now being powered by renewable energy. I just want to do everything I can to make an impact....”
Natalie Lucas
Solar Homeowner

Get Started

Complete the form below to begin your free solar evaluation.