5 Solar Energy Goals for the New Year

Set your Solar Energy Goals for the New Year!

It’s that time of year when your feed is brimming with content about resolutions and goals. A lot of the goal-oriented content we see is about health, fitness, wellness, and financial planning.

Setting achievable goals is important to us. One of our core values is growth. And a big part of achieving growth is setting goals. A goal based on learning something new is a noble goal: reading, discovering, talking to someone in the pursuit of knowledge. After all, that is where change begins.

Our intention with this post is not to add to all that “New Year” noise but instead to help you to learn something new.

If solar is on your list this year – whether you plan just to learn more or your goal is to actually take the leap – we hope this article can help you.

1. Educate Yourself About Solar Energy

There sure is a lot to learn. We speak with so many people every day who are just starting on their solar journey.

Your Guide to Going Solar is a free eBook download and is where we recommend you start.

Some of the biggest questions we here are:

  • How does it work?
  • Is solar the future?
  • Does solar energy even work in Ohio?
  • What about in the Snow?
  • Do I need batteries if I go solar?

If you prefer learning through video, head on over to our YouTube page. If you’re interested in digging deep on a particular topic, check out our solar 101 webinar series. This list of webinar recordings is comprehensive and covers many frequently asked questions.

2. Keep Track of Your Energy Prices

It’s always good to reflect – especially on the money we spend. Look back at your energy prices over the last few years. Do you notice any changes in the rates that you are paying for your electricity?

Solar energy allows you to own your power instead of paying varying and increasing monthly payments to the utility company.

We predict that energy prices will continue to rise between infrastructure maintenance and grid modernization over the next decade or two. And we’re not alone.

Escalating energy costs is crucial to consider when evaluating a solar energy system for your home.

3. Understand Net Metering

Net metering is what makes residential solar energy systems so prevalent in Ohio. It is a simple concept, but it is new to most people when they start to research solar energy.

Net-metering allows you to store the energy you produce in the electric grid in the form of credits. Excess electricity travels back into the power grid when your panels produce more energy than you need. You get credit for that energy. When you pull energy from the grid, you can use those credits to pay for grid energy when your panels aren’t making power.

If you’re interested in understanding net metering better, this webinar recording will be right up your alley.

4. Find Out About the Financial Benefits of Solar Energy in Ohio

Will solar save you money? Will you… make money? If you are on Facebook, you have undoubtedly seen those claims.

If you have always wondered what the payback is, now is a great time to find out. The best way to understand is to get a custom quote for your home. We evaluate three main factors to bring you a custom quote:

  • Available space (roof or ground)
  • Annual electricity use at your home
  • Your budget for solar

We’re thrilled that solar energy is now more accessible to more and more people in Ohio.

As the market has grown over the past 20 years, so too have financing options. Now, Third Sun Solar offers customers new and improved financing options and an opportunity to have 12 months without payments on their solar energy system.

The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a piece of the financial picture to consider. In 2021 and 2022 the ITC allows you to take 26% of the system’s cost off of taxes you owe. The ITC will drop to 22% in 2023. Read more about the current state of the ITC here.

Often, folks bundle the purchase of a new Electric Vehicle with a home solar energy system. If you’re thinking of doing the same, get up to speed on Ohio’s Electric Vehicle incentives here.

5. Get A No Obligation Solar Estimate

If you’ve always wondered if your home is a suitable candidate for a solar energy system – find out!

Start planning now if you think 2022 might be the year you go solar.

Most installers get pretty busy in the spring and summer months when the sun is high in the sky, and people are thinking about all the solar energy their roof could be capturing. Little do most know that wintertime is the best time to plan for that spring installation.

It takes time to design and permit a quality solar system like most other construction work. Think about it: you could get your solar system installed just in time to take advantage of those bright spring sun-rays.

Maximize your savings in 2022 by planning early and getting an install in time for Ohio’s peak sun days in spring, summer, and fall.

There is a lot more to find out…

We know that when you’re first looking, you have many questions, and we hope we’ve helped answer those.

Also, we know that sometimes it is easier to get questions answered by a real person. We pride ourselves in our no-pressure, consultative and educational sales approach. Feel free to reach out when you’re ready – we are just a phone call away.

Happy new year to you and yours from the Third Sun Solar team!

Case Study: Giving the Gift of Solar

This year we talked with one of our clients, Kay, who was gifted a solar energy system by her mother-in-law, Sara.

Brad, Kay & Family

Brad and Kay were in the process of building their forever home on a rural piece of land in southeastern Ohio when they first started seriously considering solar energy.

In recent years the couple had been looking into solar; they were both curious about it.

You may know from experience, but there is a whole lot to think about when building a house. The planning phase is the best time to plan for solar, but knowing when to throw a solar installation into the mix can be tricky. Brad and Kay were choosing vendors, suppliers, appliances, and making big decisions about their home. As they were chatting about the various considerations, solar energy came up, and Sara decided to gift them the solar system.

All in, it was the perfect gift: It was something Brad and Kay wanted, was a good environmental decision, it would set an example for the grandkids, and the solar system would offset the young family’s electrical costs for 30 years or more to come.

The Motivation

The whole family is environmentally driven.

“We are very aware of our carbon footprint. We know that the future is green. And we want to go in that direction,” Kay said when asked what first inspired her to look into clean energy.

Kay and Brad compost and recycle. They like to travel, enjoy nature, and most importantly, want to leave a healthy planet for their family.

The couple has a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and one on the way. For Brad and Kay and Grandma Sara, too, setting an excellent example for their children and creating a sustainable world for them is what matters most.

Sara lives in Anchorage, Alaska now, but grew up in Gallipolis, a town in southeast Ohio. She left Ohio in 1997 to join the Air Force. She’s a no plastic bags, composter, recycler, and renewable energy type of person at heart.

She says: “If I could talk anyone into it, I would.”

Sara is worried about climate change. Where she lives in Alaska, the effects of climate change are increasingly visible. She’s experiencing rising temperatures, receding glaciers, permafrost melting, which makes the homes in her community less stable, and eroding beaches that destroy homes.

When speaking about her family in southeast Ohio, Sara says: “My goal in life is to start taking them [the grandkids] on trips to get to know the world. If I can convince them to do their part, I’ve done my part.”

Choosing a Vendor

Sara asked Kay to do the research, and she did. Kay learned about solar, got the quotes, and when they were ready, Sara made the purchase.

Sara even got them a backup generator to ensure they had power access when the grid went down.

What did Kay and Brad learn while exploring solar options for their family? The couple learned that the cost was high, but the cost benefits and payback were something they hadn’t imagined.

What do they like most?

  • The benefit of low electric bills
  • Aesthetics – the solar panels, aren’t seen from the front of the house, and the black-on-black panels look good on their roof
  • Quick installation – during the pandemic, having long waits for items and long construction timelines was typical – a 2-3 day solar install shocked them!

Why did the couple choose Third Sun Solar? Kay says: “everyone was so friendly and excited. You can tell the people liked working there.”

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. It will no doubt have a lasting impact.


Southeast Ohio Foodbank Installs New Solar Panels

Upgrade will result in long-term energy cost savings and reduce the facility’s carbon footprint

LOCATION –A new solar panel installation at the Southeast Ohio Foodbank, a program of Hocking Athens Perry Community Action (HAPCAP), will help the facility to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, and serve more individuals across the region.

The installation was made possible through a significant gift from the Northern Trust Charitable Giving Program. The addition of the 364 rooftop solar panels will allow the Foodbank to significantly reduce their contribution to greenhouse gas and carbon emissions over time, while also generating long-term financial gains associated with decreased energy costs. The 163.8 kW solar array system is expected to offset the facility’s annual energy costs by nearly 47 percent and offset an annual equivalent of 149 metrics tons of CO2. In greenhouse gas emissions, this is equivalent to 50.5 tons of waste recycled instead of landfilled, or 27 homes’ electricity for one year.

“Given the size and scope of our work at the Foodbank, we historically have had significant electrical expenses. The less money we spend on energy, the more money we can spend on food and other supports for our community members who struggle with poverty and food insecurity, “shared Kelly Hatas, Executive Director at HAPCAP. “We also know that climate change is an issue that disproportionately impacts low-income communities, and we want to be a part of the solution to this global crisis. Overall, this project represents HAPCAP’s commitment to a thriving and sustainable future for Southeast Ohio.”

Geoff Greenfield, CEO and co-founder of Athens, Ohio based Third Sun Solar, who designed and installed the system, commented, “We are really proud of this project. Not only will it continue to give back to the community for decades, but it’s a trip down memory lane for me. Before we started Third Sun Solar I worked for several years at Community Action. I love their mission and really appreciate all the important programs they run in our region.”

For more information about HAPCAP’s programs, please contact Rose Frech at [email protected], or (740) 767-4500.

Online Solar System Calculators Pros and Cons

You may encounter online solar system calculators when you first start on your solar journey. 

After seeing and hearing all the advertisements about how solar can save you money – you may be motivated to pin those numbers down. Online solar system calculators can seem like a good place to start.   

This tool on various websites provides you with quick pricing for a solar installation. You can get an estimate in minutes!  

But, for homeowners serious about considering solar, the best way to get accurate pricing and financial analysis of solar for their home is to get a solar evaluation by a local solar installer.   

So, what are the pros and cons of online solar system calculators? 


Online solar system calculators are helpful when you’re first starting.   

They’re pretty sophisticated- in addition to asking about your monthly electric bill and utility provider, many ask about the pitch of your roof and shade.    

Some solar system calculators provide net solar savings over the lifetime of the solar system.  These give a glimpse of how long it will take your savings to offset the cost of the solar system.   

They’re quick and easy, and for that reason, they offer an excellent first glimpse at solar pricing.    


So what do online solar system calculators leave out? 

One element that online solar system calculators cannot account for is the usable area of your roof. It takes a professional to understand how obstructions like dormers, chimneys, and vents will affect the system size and the best equipment to use. In addition, equipment variations can significantly affect system costs.   

Additionally, different cities, historic districts, and homeowner’s associations have various regulations for space that a solar installer needs to leave on the roof surrounding the perimeter of the solar system. We call these “setback requirements.”   

Having a local installer familiar with these localized “setback requirements” will be necessary for ensuring your system is sized correctly and passes inspection once complete. Unfortunately, we have not seen any online solar calculators that can take these local requirements into account.   

Some other significant cost variable includes your budget for solar and your goals. A solar specialist will offer different equipment at different pricing, with your budget and goals in mind, to help you reach your solar vision and goals.   

Lastly, financing plays a significant role in solar system costs. The cost of the same solar system can vary widely based on how you choose to finance it.   

Don’t miss out 

We conclude that you’ll undoubtedly miss out on customized details if you rely solely on an online solar system calculator.   

"I don't know if I'm ready for a full evaluation"
The Exploratory Homeowner

Here at Third Sun Solar, we have a consultative, educational, no-pressure sales approach.   

We focus our solar evaluations on customer education, and we give you all the information you will need to make an informed decision. We will be the first to tell you if your home is not a good fit for solar.   

Remember – online solar system calculators are a fine place to start your research. But a no-pressure, free, customized evaluation will get you on the path towards achieving your solar dreams.   

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