What is happening
Thousands of Ohioans would like to go solar now. Installing solar on Ohio homes helps save families money and take control of where their electricity comes from. But many Ohioans cannot go solar because they have property that isn’t right for rooftop solar installation. This might be because of tree cover or other obstacles. This could also be because they rent their home or business.
Community solar can benefit Ohioans
Community solar offers the benefit of solar to those who can’t, or prefer not to, install. Community solar allows individuals, businesses, or organizations to buy or subscribe to a “share” in a local solar project. When you join a community solar project, you receive a credit on your electric bill each month. The size of your share determines how much credit you receive.
Community solar can provide meaningful savings on utility bills, usually from 10-20%. Community solar projects also create real, local economic impacts, creating jobs and building wealth in the communities where the project is built. Community solar programs are available in many states. Unfortunately, it is currently not legal in Ohio.
Energy consumption and demand are ever-increasing, and the rate of increase continues to grow each year. When we consider the skyrocketing demand for electric vehicles alone, there is an immediate need for expanded generation capacity. So it is more important now than ever to generate our own energy locally.
A solution is within our reach!
We are anticipating the introduction of a new piece of legislation very soon in the Ohio House that would create a community solar pilot program in Ohio. The program is capped at 1,750 MW of solar installed in three categories:
- 1,000 MW spread across all of Ohio (allocated by customer base for each utility)
- 500 MW spread across Ohio focused on the redevelopment of distressed sites
- 250MW for the Appalachian area’s distressed sites in a standalone program
These caps are set high enough to allow for many projects in all parts of the state. Community solar projects can be owned by for-profits and nonprofits and would require a minimum number of subscribers to purchase solar energy. The utility in the region would then be responsible for providing a credit on the subscriber’s utility bill for the solar energy purchased from the community solar array. After 4 years, a review will be conducted to assess the program’s success and determine its future.
Why this community solar bill works for Ohioans
The Ohio Community Solar Pilot program is good for the grid. The program alleviates the burden electric customers have when they have to pay for system upgrades. Instead, community solar project developers pay 100% of the grid improvements needed to interconnect their projects. These upgrades also include more capacity, electrical infrastructure upgrades, and resiliency for all the Ohioans near the projects. The upgrades will be important especially during periods of high demand.
The Ohio Community Solar Pilot Program commits to delivering guaranteed customer bill savings to its subscribers. This will cut the hundreds of millions of dollars you spend on electricity every year, as well as your tax dollars, which have already gone to electric utilities that are actively seeking billions more in the wake of systemic outages and persistent capacity issues. These conditions always mean increased costs.
As the Ohio Community Solar Pilot Program matures, it offers the ability to develop and install generation closer to where it will be needed and used. This avoids the significant and long-term cost of added transmission lines, which consume large tracts of land, and take years to plan, site, and build.
This program makes community solar an obvious choice. The program lowers costs. It invests locally. It can be sited flexibly. It generates clean energy (at a lower cost) and pays for its impact and improvements to the electric grid. It’s a win-win for Ohioans.