Ohio Community Solar

What is Community Solar?

Community Solar is a program that allows individuals to share the benefits of solar that they may not be able to achieve with a single solar energy system.  

Community Solar was designed to provide solar energy to people who are unable to install solar on their properties for whatever reason that may be – maybe they rent their home or don’t have enough available sunny space on their rooftop to get a solar panel system that meets 100% of their energy needs.  

Whatever the case, Community Solar gives individuals the opportunity to own their renewable energy system, while getting credit on their electric bill.  

How does it work?

Community Solar projects create electricity from the sunlight and that electricity flows into the utility grid, share owners then sell the energy generated back to the local utility company.  

There are two models for Community Solar: Ownership and Subscription  

Subscription:  

With a subscription community Solar model, a solar field is owned and operated by a third party developer. This means they will receive some of the financial benefit. Community Solar members pay for a share of the electricity that is generated by their project, they will then receive a credit from the dollar value generated by the project. Members can be given a certain number of solar panels in the project or they purchase a certain amount of electricity.  

Ownership:  

When you purchase a number of panels, this is called an ownership model. If you are under an ownership model you will receive credits based on panels that you own in the project, which can save you money on your electric bill. The full benefits – tax benefits and electric savings – go to the owners of the solar field. This is an owned asset for the member-owners.  

Why is Community Solar an option? 

Community Solar gives everyone the opportunity to have the benefits of solar energy, even if/when they’re unable to have a system of their own.  

It gives individuals the chance to save on their electric bills, lock in their electricity rates, help the community earn money and create jobs.  

Pros of Community Solar 

  1. It can be used by individuals whose homes have too much shading to go solar 
  2. It can be used by homeowners whose roofs or home orientation make solar infeasible 
  3. Community Solar is great for businesses who are leasing their buildings  
  4. It makes solar accessible to people who own condos, townhomes, renters or people living in HOA’s with restrictions on solar.  
  5. Contributes to the resilience of the Ohio utility grid by diversifying sources of electricity  
  6. Subscribers receive similar benefits to homeowners who have gone solar  

Cons of Community Solar 

  1. It is not yet available in Ohio!  

Community Solar in Ohio  

Currently Community Solar is under debate in the Ohio legislature. House Bill 197 was introduced in 2023 and would make Community Solar an option for Ohioans. As of now, it is not.  

In 2023, State Representatives Jim Hoops (R- District 81) and Sharon Ray (R- District 66) introduced House Bill 197. The objective of Ohio HB 197 is to establish the first Community Solar Pilot Program in Ohio.  

If adopted, we imagine third party developers and interested owners alike will move quickly to adopt the benefits of a Community Solar program here in Ohio!   

 

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