First solar + EV charging co-op launches in Ohio

By Ben Delman on September 14, 2018

Solar panels and electric vehicles make a natural pair. That’s why neighbors in Appalachian Ohio are joining together in the state’s first solar and Electric Vehicle (EV) charger co-op. As with traditional solar co-ops, participants will work together to learn about solar technology and choose an installer through an open and competitive bidding process. They will also be able to purchase a level 2 EV charger either with their system or as a stand-alone installation.

Level 2 chargers provide about 12 to 25 miles of charge per hour, depending on type of vehicle and power of the charging unit used. They require installation by a professional electrician and utilize a 240-volt outlet identical to a household clothes dryer. They can be installed in garages, on the side of buildings, or on pedestal mounts in parking lots for businesses. They charge three to six times faster than a level 1 charger that comes standard with electric cars. The cost of charging equipment can range from $500-$750. Installation costs typically run between $500-$1,000. Since a solar installer will have to do electrical work as part of installing a system, adding an EV charger at the same time can save on installation costs.

It is fitting that the Appalachian Ohio Co-op be the first solar and EV charger co-op in Ohio.  Last year it was the first solar co-op to ask installers to provide an option for homeowners wanting to add a level 2 charger with solar. That was a result of growing deployment of electric vehicles in the region.

Data collected by Solar United Neighbors finds solar homeowners are more likely to own an EV. And, EV owners are more likely to go solar to “fuel” their vehicle with the power from the sun. More than 1/3rd of solar homeowners in Solar United Neighbors’ network have an electric vehicle.  Nationwide, about 1% of vehicle owners have electric vehicles.

Co-op participants will select a single company to complete all the installations. They will then have the option to purchase panels, Level 2 chargers, or both individually based on the installer’s group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save off the cost of going solar, and enjoy the support of fellow group participants and solar experts at Solar United Neighbors.