Third Sun Solar – Newsletter – Third Series – Number 3

[box]We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.
—Native American Proverb[/box]

Third Sun Solar Offers Residential Referral Program

At Third Sun Solar, we have been building our business one system and one customer at a time, and seeing a surprising amount of growth from word of mouth—customers telling a friend, or a friend of a friend. So we have decided to begin rewarding our customers for those referrals.

If a friend or neighbor of yours has shown interest in your solar energy system, and might be a good candidate for their own solar energy, at home or at their business, please provide us with their contact information and help introduce us.

If you do this, we can offer each of your referrals a special premium—a $250 Visa Gift Card, courtesy of Third Sun Solar and courtesy of you—for installing a 5kW or larger solar system. And if they install a system, we can also reward you with a $250 Visa Gift Card. This offer is good until February 15, 2012.

There is no limit to the number of referrals you can give us—and we will reward you for each one. But referrals must sign a contract by this February 15 for the rewards to be paid. The $250 reward applies to systems 5kW and larger, with rewards being pro-rated for smaller systems.

For more information, please give us a call at 740-249-4533. Thanks!

Third Sun Solar Short-Listed for Major Innovation Award

ATHENS, OHIO—Third Sun Solar has been listed as a semi-finalist for the 2011 TechColumbus Innovation Awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in technology and innovation in Central Ohio.

Presented by TechColumbus, the annual Innovation Awards recognize outstanding achievements in technology leadership and innovation. From hundreds of entries, 13 outstanding leaders and teams who exemplify the best in technology leadership and innovation in 2011 will be honored during the Innovation Awards Ceremony on February 2, 2012 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Of the 13 award categories in this year’s event, Third Sun Solar is listed for its contributions in the Green Innovation segment. It shares this recognition with other firms that have developed a Green product or service that is commercially available and in production, and is in use with at least one customer/client; or that have applied or implemented a technology or process change that has a net positive impact on the environment.

About TechColumbus

TechColumbus is the catalyst for technology-driven economic growth in Central Ohio. Its goal is to accelerate innovation, business growth, job creation, and prosperity in the 15-county region of Central Ohio. TechColumbus works to create new companies, strengthen existing businesses, open doors to technology resources, and support the attraction and retention of technology-based businesses and talented people.

Linking the efforts of top technology enterprises, TechColumbus reaches out to the foremost research and development firms in the area—including The Ohio State University, Battelle, Columbus Children’s Research Institute, OhioHealth, 15 Fortune 1,000 companies, and thousands of tech-based and tech-enabled companies. TechColumbus facilitates collaboration among these tech assets and provides resources and assistance to accelerate business and overall economic progress.


If you have ever sought a residential remote estimate from Third Sun Solar, or needed help getting your solar array certified and registered to sell your SRECs, chances are you’ve spoken—or at least emailed—with Jamey Jones. She is one of our mainstays—another Third Sun employee who does multiple things well, and without whom we wouldn’t be able to function as we do.

Jamey came to Third Sun Solar in 2008 as a receptionist—a position known within the company as a launch pad, as we keep finding great people to answer the phones and promoting them into other jobs here. Jamie was soon doing economic and solar performance modeling for residential systems, and became part of our sales team, handling inside work for all residential sales—completing remote estimates, interfacing with the Public Utilities Commission and GATS, and serving as liaison to all residential customers and projects.

What led Jamey to Third Sun Solar? Mainly, it was her abiding interest in wellness and being green. She had previously worked at the Farmacy Natural Foods Store in Athens; developed health food recipes for a local clientele; provided organic landscaping services for area clients; and worked with Passion Works Studio in Athens as a lead production artist, making collaborative art with adults with and without developmental disabilities.

Having come to the Athens community over twenty years ago as an Ohio University student, Jamey has put down roots here. She is the proud parent of two amazing kids—daughter Lilah (again on course for straight A’s at Athens city schools) and younger son River, aptly named for being a source of boundless energy.

What matters most to Jamey is that her work has environmental and/or social value—that it makes the world a better place for her children.


Energy Loan Fund Replaces State Grants for Renewable Energy Systems

This past year, the State of Ohio Department of Development, Office of Energy announced that it was suspending the grant program for solar installations. The ODOD Office of Energy administers incentive programs through the Advanced Energy Fund to support investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors. To that end, on December 15, 2011, the Office of Energy launched the Energy Loan Fund that applies funds through the Advanced Energy Fund along with federal funds from the State Energy Program to offer low-interest loans to those seeking to add renewable energy systems to their homes.

The new program is not a grant. It is a loan program that requires credit approval and carries up-front and annual fees, and for that reason, is not nearly as attractive as the former grant program. However, solar panel prices have been falling, and we are willing to review and re-do the performance and economic modeling we may have previously performed for you. We may be able to offer better pricing than we could before.

Our take on this is that some customers may benefit, but not nearly as much as during the previous grant period. With solar panel prices falling, the Federal Tax Credit and depreciation rules still in place, and the Energy Loan Fund, there may be enough incentive in place to persuade more people to go solar. 2012 should show us whether the move to clean energy is ready to climb the adoption curve and see more of a mainstream embrace.


Gainesville, Florida Becomes a World Leader in Solar

By John Farrell

You don’t have to be big to go big on solar power. That’s the lesson from the Gainesville Regional Utilities, the electric utility whose feed-in tariff solar policy has brought over 7 megawatts (MW) of solar to the city’s 125,000 residents. The raw number isn’t much, but it puts Gainesville among the world leaders in solar installed per capita, beating out Japan, France, and China (and besting California, with 32 kilowatts -kW- per 1,000 residents).

[box]If we were to advocate for, and gain, such policies here in the Midwest, we could put Ohio and the surrounding states on the solar map—and make a dramatic step toward moving away from electricity generated by burning coal. Want to take action on that? You can begin by sending this article to your local municipal electric utility. [/box]

The basic premise behind the feed-in tariff program is that anyone who wants to be a solar power generator can connect to the grid and get a 20-year contract for their power from the municipal utility.

The long-term contract makes getting financing for solar projects easier and the prices are attractive. The utility pays 24 cents per kilowatt-hour generated for large-scale ground-mounted systems and up to 32 cents for small, rooftop systems.

The price differentiation helps accommodate solar arrays of various sizes, from residential to larger commercial installations, spreading the economic opportunity. The differentiation may also help small-scale residential projects that can’t use federal tax incentives for businesses (depreciation).

Thus far, approximately one-third of the city’s 7.3 MW of solar power is in relatively small systems 100 kW and smaller. About half the installed capacity is in projects 500 kW and larger.

The solar feed-in tariff program also brings value to the local community and electricity system. A report released earlier this year found that the grid benefits and social benefits of solar power far outweigh the typical valuation of solar power by utilities. These benefits include reduced stress on the utility distribution system and reduced transmission losses.

The feed-in tariff program also means local economic development. With a rule of thumb of eight jobs per MW, according to a University of California, Berkeley, study of the jobs created from renewable energy development, Gainesville has already generated 56 jobs. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that each megawatt of solar adds $240,000 to the local economy, and if Gainesville’s solar projects are locally owned, the value could be much higher.

More than anything, Gainesville provides an important lesson in local energy self-reliance. While many communities must await action by a state legislature or investor-owned utility, the municipal utility has the authority to act quickly in support of the community. And when the utility is locally controlled, it can mean big things for local solar power.


Founded in 2000, Third Sun Solar is at the forefront of the emerging Ohio clean energy industry—a growing resource for 21st-century jobs. For more than a decade, the company has custom designed and installed over 300 renewable energy systems for its commercial, institutional, government, and residential customers across the Midwest. Third Sun Solar employs a team of NABCEP-certified solar energy system installers along with system designers, financial analysts, grant specialists, and support staff, all focused on making it easy for customers to go solar. The company combines financial and management experience, highly trained installation crews, privileged supply agreements with leading equipment suppliers, a network of professional services partners, and advanced internal systems to deliver a smooth transition to solar energy at any scale. An Inc. 5000 company in 2009, 2010 and 2011, To learn more, please visit our website at



Third Sun Solar installers completing a 5.4kW SunPower panel systemon a standing seam metal roof in Coshocton, Ohio


Gerald Kelly

[email protected]

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