Grandview, Ohio Case Study

Project Overview

  • Lifetime Cost Savings: $45,678
  • System Type: Roof Mounted solar system + Kohler Generator + 2 Tesla Powerwall
  • Nameplate System Size: 7.2 kW
  • Annual Electricity Offset: 56%
Over the next 30 years, this 7.2 kW solar array is expected to offset the homeowners annual energy by 56 percent and offset an annual equivalent of 14,871 pounds of CO2. In greenhouse gas emissions, this is equivalent to removing 1 car from the road, or 173 trees planted. 

Delaware, Ohio Case Study

Project Overview

  • System Type: Roof Mounted solar system + 2 Tesla Powerwall
  • Nameplate System Size: 11.52
  • Annual Electricity Offset: 84%
Over the next 30 years, this 11.52 kW solar array is expected to offset the homeowners annual energy by 84 percent and offset an annual equivalent of 238 metric tons of CO2. In greenhouse gas emissions, this is equivalent to driving a car 583,413 miles, or preserving 281 acres of forest. 

Columbus, Ohio Case Study

Project Overview

  • Savings: $22,210
  • System Type: Roof mounted solar array 
  • Nameplate System Size: 5.27
  • Annual Electricity Offset: 88%
 The 5.27 kW solar array is expected to offset the homeowners annual energy by 88 percent and offset an annual equivalent of 13,490 metrics pounds of CO2. In greenhouse gas emissions, this is equivalent to removing 1 car from the road, or planting  157 trees annually. 

Marion, Ohio Case Study

Project Overview

  • Savings: $38,553
  • System Type: Roof mounted solar array 
  • Nameplate System Size: 12.87
  • Annual Electricity Offset: 55%
 The 12.84 kW solar array is expected to offset the homeowners annual energy by 55 percent and offset an annual equivalent of 271 metrics tons of CO2. In greenhouse gas emissions, this is equivalent to 665,539 miles driven, or saving 320 acres of forest. 

What’s the Difference Between a Kilowatt and a Kilowatt Hour?

What’s the Difference Between a Kilowatt and a Kilowatt Hour?

If you’ve heard these terms (kilowatt and kilowatt hour) in the past but don’t know what they mean – don’t worry about it. You aren’t alone. Most ratepayers don’t.     

But understanding these concepts, basic energy terms, and the difference between power and energy can save you confusion and stress when looking at and trying to understand your electricity bill.   

Once you understand the terms – you’ll be able to save time and money and make better decisions for you and your family regarding your home energy needs.   

You’ll also be able to make a more informed decision when you start exploring solar energy.   

So – what’s the difference? 


  • Kilowatt = 1,000 watts  
  • Watts = power   

In solar, a kilowatt is a measure of power, precisely the rate of energy generated at a specific time.   

Say your LED TV has a power rating of 80 watts. That means it takes 80 watts, or .08 kW, to turn on the TV. A plasma TV of the same size, on the other hand, takes 220 watts or .22 kW to turn on. (That’s why LED and Energy Star rated appliances are better!)  

When you see a solar system with an associated kilowatt size – like a 9-kilowatt solar array – this number refers to the maximum possible power output of the system. In other words, it’s the nameplate capacity of the system. So, on the sunniest day, at noon when the sun is high in the sky, a 9-kilowatt solar energy system will produce 9 kilowatts of solar power in real-time.   

We calculate a solar array’s kilowatt number from the total number of solar panels used. Say each solar panel has a wattage rating of 300 watts. If you install 30 solar panels, you’ll have a 9000 watt or 9-kilowatt solar system.   

If you have a solar energy system, your monitoring will show a fluctuation of power output for the system as the sun rises and falls throughout the day and as the seasons change. Different factors affect the power output of a solar energy system. These factors can include the time of day, time of year, weather, ambient temperature, panel shading, and more.   

After understanding that kilowatts equal the power output of a solar energy system, it’s important to understand kilowatt-hours. Kilowatt-hours tell the story of how much power a system can produce over a specific timeframe.   


A Kilowatt-hour is a measure of power output over time. So, if our 9-kilowatt system produced 9 kilowatts continuously for a whole hour, it produced 9 kilowatt-hours.   

Using kilowatt-hours, we can draw a more accurate picture of the production of a solar array over time.   

When looking at a recent electricity bill, you will see that your electric provider has billed you for kilowatt-hours consumed.   

Your solar energy system must be sized to offset the kilowatt-hours you typically use at home. Our solar experts know that there are variables to consider when sizing your solar array: weather patterns change, your energy consumption fluctuates as your family grows, or you add an electric vehicle

That is why a solar consultation is a key step – your Solar Consultant needs to know a lot about your current energy use, available space for solar, and future plans to size a system that will meet your home energy needs for 30+ years.   

Energy production guarantee 

Does your solar installer offer an energy production guarantee? When evaluating solar, you want to trust that your solar system will perform as expected. An energy production guarantee helps you rest assured that, no matter how much you trust your installer, your investment is protected if the solar energy system does not produce as much energy as was projected.  

Understanding these key concepts will help you make a more informed decision when you decide to go solar. 

When you’re ready – reach out!   (Or reach out if you’re still wondering “What’s the Difference Between a Kilowatt and a Kilowatt Hour?!) 


Power Your Electric Car with Solar Energy

Electric Cars and Solar Energy are the perfect pair. They’re both forward thinking technologies. And they’re sparking a revolution among those dedicated to self-reliance and building a better energy future.   

We don’t need to tell you – we know you’ve considered an Electric Car.  

There are some undeniable reasons why it’s a sound investment: fuel for an Electric Car is less expensive than a standard internal combustion engine car. Maintenance is estimated to be about 25% lower than combustion engine vehicles. And lastly, Electric Vehicles don’t burn fossil fuels when you drive them.   

But when you move to invest in an Electric Car – will you fuel it with sunshine?  

Our analysis found that you could save about 30% on your electric savings when you bundle your Electric Vehicle with solar.    

Electric Cars and Solar Energy: Why it Matters

Think about it: you’ll regularly charge your Electric Car from the local electric supply. And, depending on the mix of your local electric supplier, an Electric Vehicle owner could easily charge their vehicle with coal or natural gas. In Ohio, most of our utility energy supply comes from natural gas, followed by coal 

One way to increase your impact when you buy an Electric Car: charge on solar power.   

“More than 50% of the people who I helped go solar in the last half of 2021 got an EV and saw their electric bill increase due to charging at home vs going to the pump. They saw solar as a way to hedge against those rising utility costs. PLUS, they want to get those haters off their backs who give them grief for charging their EV’s with coal.” -- John Wittine Solar Consultant, Cleveland Ohio

Hedging Against Rising Utility Costs: The Math 


  • 30 miles driven per day  
  • Level 2 electric vehicle charger  
  • Cost of Utility Power: $.14 per kilowatt-hour  
  • Cost of Solar Power: $.10 per kilowatt-hour   

Charging with Utility Power   

The US Department of Transportation estimates that the average US driver drives about 13,500 miles a year, which comes to a little more than 1,000 miles per month.   

We fell back to 900 miles a month for our estimates, knowing that there is a little less driving and traveling happening these days. Assuming you go with a traditional residential Level 2 Electric Vehicle charger – our solar expert in Cleveland, Ohio, John Wittine, calculates a monthly increase of 2,650 kWh of electricity used in a home annually and assuming a .14 cent cost per kWh, this equates to about $371 per year.   

Charging with Solar Power 

When John runs the same math on a solar energy system whose initial cost is finite but broken down by lifetime and including degradation to the panels over time, his estimates find that (and are corroborated by the findings at Elektrik) Solar power comes in at roughly $0.10 – $0.11 per kWh. If you drive your EV 900 miles a month, using 2,650 kWh a year, at $0.10 per kWh, you’ll be paying about $265 per year to charge at home.   

Summary of The Math 

All in, our analysis found that you could save 30% on your electric savings when you bundle your Electric Car with solar.   

Rates vary based on utility provider, and power is cheaper in Ohio. Energy is cheaper in Ohio, and we have no peak hour rates, so the cost savings are not as significant as other states may see. Ultimately, our findings don’t consider the rising rates of electricity that homeowners will experience during the lifetime of their vehicle + solar panels.   

So don’t forget to consider that variable.   

The Environment: Electric Vehicle and Solar Charging 

Our electric grid will need to get a lot cleaner here in Ohio before Electric Car drivers can claim that they’re driving truly emission-free. While we see a clean energy future ahead of us, one way to make sure that your Electric Car is reaping the full benefits of being emission free vehicle now, is by choosing to charge it with home solar power.   

PS – Check out this resource for buying an electric car in Ohio.  

Read for a solar evaluation of your home? We are here to help! Get a no-obligation, free solar evaluation when you sign up today.  

From 2008 to Today: Solar Energy Storage Case Study

Chris and Pete Yost went solar with Third Sun Solar back in 2008. In 2021 the pair signed up to expand their initial system to cover additional electricity use at their home. Like most of our customers, Chris and Pete went solar for two reasons: for the environment & to increase their resiliency. 

Historical Motivations

Chris and Pete Yost live in London, Ohio, a rural area outside of Central Ohio.

In 2008, they went back and forth, evaluating different renewable energy options for their farm. After learning about the maintenance requirements associated with residential wind generators, they settled on installing a solar energy system at their home.

The initial installation included a roof-mounted solar array and a battery bank of 16 Deka batteries.

While there were incentives available at that time, it was still a significant investment. Pete says: “I kept joking that my new Corvette is sitting on top of the garage” The family does not own any Corvettes, but they have made a commitment to living a clean energy lifestyle.

Back in 2008, they had a friend in the federal government who explained the grid’s vulnerabilities at that time. They wanted to have a plan in place if there ever was a big electrical failure.

As early adopters, the Yosts were able to get Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) locked in at a high rate, which has contributed to the financial payback of their solar and battery system. Unfortunately, today SRECs are not much of an incentive in Ohio. Read more about that here. But with federal incentives and decreased prices with widespread adoption, the solar market remains strong, despite the loss of value in SRECs.

Looking Abroad

Another frame of reference that Chris and Pete had back in 2008 was forward-thinking countries.

They had done some traveling to countries where the adoption of renewable energy technologies was already widespread. In Europe at the time, renewable energy sources were pervasive.

They saw substantial solar fields in countries with similar -if not cloudier- climates to the United States, which made it evident that solar energy was something to consider back home.

Now, any new construction in Germany requires a minimum of 2 solar panels for solar hot water heaters. Pete says, “When you go by housing developments you see solar panels on all the homes.”

Solar Energy Storage Case Study: An Area Prone to Outages

On their rural farm outside of Central Ohio, Chris and Pete do experience power outages. The outages are not necessarily lengthy, but when they happen, the farm has maintained power.

And when the power goes out? Life goes on as usual.

They run what they must on the batteries and have necessary appliances set up to work with the system – water pump, geothermal, microwave, refrigerator, and a few lights.

With conservative energy use, they can go three days with no utility power when there is no charging of the batteries. And longer when the solar system is charging the batteries. Sometimes they let the batteries cycle on their own, which is important for the technology.

A Growing Community Powered by the Sun

They may have been the first, but the Yosts are not the only ones in their family with a solar energy system. Pete has a brother in Ohio who put in a solar system a couple of years ago. Their daughter in Iowa has gone solar, too.

Chris and Pete are in the group that we think of as the early adopters of solar energy. In 2021 as they expand their existing solar array, they join an even more significant number of Ohioans turning to solar power to meet all of their energy needs.

Are you thinking about adding more solar panels to your home or looking to get started? Reach out to get started with a virtual solar evaluation for your home, business, or organization.

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