Author Archives: Luke Richardson

How is solar energy used? The 5 most common examples of solar power

the most common solar energy uses energysage

With so many different gadgets and technologies that could leverage solar power in the modern era, many are wondering “how is solar energy used?” Whether it’s powering renewable transportation or charging a wireless speaker, the list of examples of solar energy is endless, leaving many homeowners wondering how far they can really go when they decide to “go solar.”

What is solar energy used for?

Solar energy uses captured sunlight to create photovoltaic power (PV) or concentrated solar power (CSP) for solar heating. This energy conversion allows solar to be used to power auto motives, lights, pools, heaters and gadgets.

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New solar panel technology: learn about advances in solar energy

latest advances in solar panel technology graphic

Solar power was in a constant state of innovation in 2016, with new advances in solar panel technology announced almost every week. In the past year alone, there have been milestones in solar efficiency, solar energy storage, wearable solar technology and solar design tech. Read on to get the complete update on all the breakthroughs you should know about in the world of new solar panel technology.

With community solar, anyone can switch to solar technology. Learn more

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Top Community Solar States: Minnesota vs California, Massachusetts Colorado Community Solar

comparing the top states for community solar graphic

Community solar – the concept of leasing or owning a share of a large solar array rather than having a personal solar installation on your rooftop – continues to gain popularity across the continental United States. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), there will be a 1.8 gigawatt (GW) increase in installed photovoltaics from community solar arrays over the next five years.  Minnesota, Colorado and California – the undisputed best states for community solar – will drive the majority of that growth. You might wonder, why are these states so ideal for roofless solar compared to the 47 others in the U.S.? Here’s how these community solar leaders rose to the top.

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How much do solar panels cost in Cincinnati, Ohio?

solar panel cost cincinnati

As the U.S continues to witness remarkable growth in solar, Ohio’s rising renewable energy standards have helped foster more and more solar panel installation over the past decade. Ohio has installed 153.1 MW of solar which powers 18,000 homes in the state. The state’s burgeoning solar industry means cities like Cincinnati have lower than average solar panel system costs. In this article we’ll explain how Cincinnati has become a top spot for solar power and what homeowners can do to maximize their solar savings.

How much do solar panels cost in Cincinnati?

As of mid-2017, the average price for solar panels in Cincinnati was $3.00 per watt. Thus, since the typical system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), the average cost of a solar panel system in Cincinnati is $15,000 before any rebates or incentives.

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While this price is low for the overall state of Ohio, it is also very competitive in terms of the national average. Prices for solar panel systems have dropped by over 64% in Ohio over the past 5 years and homeowners are taking notice. Check out this comparison table of Cincinnati, the state, and U.S. average pricing for various system sizes:

Solar pricing table: Cincinnati compared to state and U.S. average costs

System size National average cost
(after ITC)
State average cost
(after ITC)
 Cincinnati average cost
(after ITC)
3 kW $7,119 $6,384  $6,300
6 kW $14,238  $12,278  $12,600
10 kW $23,730  $21,280  $21,000
12 kW $28,476  $25,536  $25,200

The above table, which uses pricing data from solar quotes received by homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace over the last 12 months, offers a comparison of prices nationwide and in Cincinnati for solar energy systems. As the data illustrates, typical solar prices in Cincinnati, Ohio are significantly lower than the rest of the country.





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When looking at the solar industry as a whole, it’s well known that Ohio is one of the most affordable and pragmatic places to install solar. But when you zero in on Cincinnati’s market and compare it to the rest of the country, the advantage for homeowners is even clearer. The good news for most Ohio homeowners is that these low costs do not even incorporate the added benefit of net metering, offered throughout the Buckeye State.

Ohio’s net metering and other incentives

Ohio’s net metering program allows homeowners to sell any excess electricity generated by their solar panel system back to the grid in exchange for credits on the utility bill. When homeowners use more power than the solar panel system generates, these credits can be used in lieu of buying electricity from the utility.

Other solar incentives in Ohio include solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) and an interest rate buydown program. SRECs incentivize homeowners by granting one certificate that can be sold for extra cash for each megawatt hour of electricity the solar panels produce. In 2016 these certificates sold for about $15, meaning that a 5-kilowatt system that produces 5 MWh per year could earn about $75 annually.

There is also an interest rate buydown program, known as the Energy Conservation for Ohioans (ECO-Link) Program, that makes it less expensive to finance a solar panel system. Homeowners who successfully apply for the program receive up to a 3 percent interest rate reduction on bank loans for up to seven years.

How Cincinnati homeowners can save big with solar

Though Cincinnati residents will see some of the cheapest solar prices in the country with continued cost declines expected over the next five years, low prices aren’t necessarily the biggest selling point. When it comes to going solar, the long term ROI and savings from avoided bill payments is often the biggest deciding factor – and the figures can be staggering even in states where utility rates are reasonable.

In 2017, solar quotes received by Cincinnati homeowners yielded 20-year savings estimates of over $47,926 on average. Checkout the breakdown of average net savings by solar system size:

Cincinnati net 20-year savings from solar

System size Average solar savings over 20 years
3 kW  $16,159
6 kW  $39,266
10 kW  $51,532
12 kW  $63,469

Three tips for solar shoppers in Cincinnati

  1. Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more

    As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.

    To find the smaller contractors that typically offer lower prices, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can save thousands on their solar panel installation.

  2. The biggest installers typically don’t offer the best price

    The bigger isn’t always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you don’t overpay for solar.

  3. Comparing all your equipment options is just as important

    National-scale installers don’t just offer higher prices – they also tend to have fewer solar equipment options, which can have a significant impact on your system’s electricity production. By collecting a diverse array of solar bids, you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you.

    There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesn’t always result in higher savings. The only way to find the “sweet spot” for your property is to evaluate quotes with varying equipment and financing offers.

For any Cincinnati homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.

How much do solar panels cost in Arizona?

cost of solar in arizona

In 2017, it’s rare to have a discussion about the top solar markets in the U.S. without mentioning Arizona. The Grand Canyon State offers a dynamic combination of bountiful sunlight and record low solar prices thanks to its lucrative state tax credit. When homeowners realize that Arizona is the second best state for solar after California, it’s hard not to see the appeal of installing a PV system in 2017.

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Tesla Energy: Has Elon Musk invented the first clean power utility?

tesla energy

Tesla Motors was once a company that sold solely luxury electric cars, but its founder has set his sights on the creation of a full-throttle home energy solution. The company’s expansion into energy storage and solar power has been heralded by the unveiling of a new division: Tesla Energy.

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Solar factories: do solar panels make sense for manufacturing?

solar for factories

Since the industrial revolution, factories have been among the world’s biggest consumers of energy due to their mass scale and high volume of processes centralized in one location. As a result of the major energy costs associated with manufacturing, many CEOs (such as Tesla’s Elon Musk) have identified solar power as the perfect way to reduce operating costs. In this article, we’ll explain why solar panels are a pragmatic investment for factories in 2017.

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Tesla’s Solar Panel Roof: Solar Glass Tiles are New Solar Shingles

tesla solar roof shingles

If you’ve found it difficult to stay up to date on the future of Tesla Motors and SolarCity in recent months, you are not alone. Numerous industries (solar, electric vehicles, and ridesharing, to name a few) worldwide are starting to feel the impact of a merger that could significantly alter growth plans for manufacturers and executives across the globe. Now the concept of an integrated solar glass shingle – the Tesla solar tile – is on everyone’s mind. 

We had already heard about Tesla’s plans for total clean energy integration – a one step carbon reduction process that involves pairing solar panels with your Tesla electric vehicle. Now for the latest: with Tesla’s highly anticipated solar roofing product, we’ve seen the future of PV roofing and the future of Tesla. One thing is certain: building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are going to be a big part of Tesla Motors – or should we say Tesla Energy’s – future.

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How do solar panels work for your home?

how solar panels work

As the cost of solar has plummeted in recent years alongside major improvements in technical efficiencies and manufacturing quality, many homeowners across the U.S. are starting to look at solar as a viable alternative energy solution. And as solar enters mainstream energy markets, the big question is, “how do solar panels work?” In this article we’ll break down exactly how solar panels produce energy for your home and how pragmatic going solar really is in 2017.

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