Anyone remember the great power failure of 2003 that quickly took out the northeastern electric grid? Yeah that started in Ohio. It left roughly 50 million U.S. residents without power—sometimes for days.
Overall, the Buckeye state’s seen some rough times as of late. The heavily industrial state suffered greatly as traditional industries dried and went overseas, leaving streets, towns and even cities almost as empty and forlorn as those in Michigan. However, one bright spot in the southernmost state bordering a Great Lake is growth in renewable industry manufacturing.
The state also has the potential to add more renewables into its energy mix. On average the state receives about 4.3 kilowatt hours of sunlight per square meter, which is enough to justify solar. And the northwestern part of the state gets enough wind to justify that renewable resource there.
To help Ohio’s citizens adopt renewable energy locally, the state has put into place numerous incentive programs to make solar power and other forms of renewables less expensive. Among them is a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) under which 25 percent of the electricity sold in the state must come from renewable sources by 2025. Of that, half must come from sources within the state. However, that also includes “clean coal technologies” and third-generation nuclear plants and energy efficiency efforts. Ohio does offer a net-metering program.
Because of Ohio’s location on Lake Erie, and proximity to other industrial-economy states like Michigan and Illinois, Ohio can easily transport materials in and out more so than most inland states in the United States. Given that, and its location in the Midwest, Ohio has had important land and water resources to offer industry. Wind and solar companies have taken advantage of the state’s industrial capabilities by building plants in the state.
And Ohio’s got a dirty little secret, too. Nearly 90 percent of Ohio’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants. Two nuclear plants by Lake Erie supply the majority of the rest of Ohio’s electricity.
Ohio’s industrial sector accounts for more than one-third of Ohio's electricity consumption, more than the quarter of electric consumption that comes from the state’s residents. Since nearly 20 percent of homes in the state use electricity to heat their homes, the state’s overall energy usages is higher than in most other states.
|Program Type||State Grant Program|
|Amount||$3.00 per DC watt installed, $25,000 per residence|
|Required Documentation||Submitted application, executed grant agreement|
|Official Web Site||http://development.ohio.gov/Energy/Incentives/AdvancedEnergyFundGrants.htm|
Under the program, applicants can qualify for a rebate of $3.00 per DC Watt of installed capacity, up to a maximum of $25,000. The grants are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis to help offset the costs of new residential solar PV systems. Only customers of the following service areas pay into the fund and therefore are able to apply for the program: American Electric Power, Dayton Power & Light, Duke Energy, and FirstEnergy.
However, this popular program was temporarily halted to allow the Ohio Department of Development's (ODOD’s) Energy Resources Division catch up with existing applications before allowing any more people to apply. The division said it “has seen a significant increase in the demand for the Advanced Energy Fund and has approved an unprecedented number of grant agreements since the start of the state fiscal year on July 1, 2010.” Because of the number of applicants and the possibility that the Advanced Energy Fund might not be extended after Dec. 31, 2010, the program may only be open for a short time longer.
To be eligible, the system must be based in Ohio and be located at the resident’s primary home. The initial grant application must include a solar site analysis report. Prior to purchasing or beginning work on an installation, the customer must select an approved installer. Only after the applicant has received a grant agreement can they start work on installing the system. The project must be completed within a year of signing a grant agreement and the funds will be issued after it is completed and the project passed a final inspection.
|Program Type||Local Loan Program|
|Required Documentation||Contact local officials|
|Official Web Site||http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/717.25|
In June 2010, Ohio passed a law allowing cities and counties to create revolving loan programs to support permanent renewable energy and energy efficiency projects on residential and other buildings.
Under such programs, the local municipality establishes a fund for the loan program, under which local residents or businesses can apply for a low-interest rate loans to help finance their renewable energy project. As loans are repaid, the municipality can then fund more loans to more people installing solar or other renewable energy on their buildings. Under the law, such programs may only offer interest rates below prevailing market rates.
The program was designed with all property owners in mind, so homeowners, business owners, and others (like farms, office buildings or warehouses) may all apply. The loan program also was established to promote energy efficiency as well as renewables like solar and wind.
If a town or city does not have a renewable energy revolving loan fund and wants to, it needs to adopt an ordinance that will allow it to do so. Under the law, the ordinance will create a revolving loan fund in the municipality’s treasury and provide seed money for the fund. The municipality must also establish facility criteria, as well as the terms and conditions for making the loans from the fund.
The state law also requires that property owners repay their loans through installments and that those payments as well as extra earnings from interest are returned to the revolving loan. Finally, it requires that the municipalities establish other measures needed to properly operate the program and encourage alternative energy and energy efficiency in the municipality.
Alternative energy revolving loan programs must submit a quarterly report to utilities detailing loan supported energy projects and provide additional information as necessary for utilities to count energy efficiency and demand reduction credits.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
|Technologies||Solar Thermal, Photovoltaics|
|Amount||Credited toward customer’s next bill at the rate of generation|
|Required Documentation||Interconnection agreement with utility|
|Official Web Site||http://www.puco.ohio.gov/PUCO/Consumer/Information.cfm?id=8510|
Under Ohio's net-metering law, electric distribution utilities must offer net metering to customers who generate electricity with renewable sources like solar, wind and more. At present, there is no statutory size limitation on net-metered systems. But the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio determined that a limitation is implied by the statute, because a net-metered system is made to offset only part or all of a customer’s electricity needs.
Ohio requires net-metered customers to use a single, bidirectional meter. Net excess generation by net-metered customers can credit their generation toward future months. At the end of a 12-month period the system owner may request refunds for excess generation.
Before attempting to connect to a utility’s grid with a net-metered system, the system owner must submit an interconnection agreement and receive approval for the system from the utility. The utility provides interconnection agreements for interested parties.
Local Loan Program
Private Rebate Program
Property Tax Exemption
Sales Tax Exemption
State Grant Program
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Public Benefits Fund
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Solar Access Law/Guideline
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC) provides a wide range of information and resources to enable the use of alternative fuels and other petroleum-reduction options, such as advanced vehicles, fuel blends, idle reduction and fuel economy. The AFDC site offers a database of state and federal laws and incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.