Solar energy, and to a lesser extent wind energy have a bright future in the state of Ohio. These renewable technologies are vital to navigating the path to a low carbon power future. Already we have shared information and our view on the momentum that solar energy has in the state, and some good signs for the near future. There are more signs and good news about renewable energy in general for 2016 and the upcoming few years.
On both a state and national level, Ohio legislators are taking more action to help guide us to a more stable and low carbon energy future and to encourage more people to get solar panels for your home.
On the local level, there will most likely be a ballot initiative for voters to express their desires regarding $14.3 billion in bonds to be issued over 11 years to fund renewable energy projects, energy storage options and other energy infrastructure. The state’s Attorney General approved the initiative’s language, recognizing it had garnered the minimum required 1,000 signatures necessary to land a spot on the ballot. The initiative proposes an amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The current language covers infrastructure improvements that include but are not limited to solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, battery technology, energy conservation, energy efficiency, and grid and distribution facilities. In that sense, this ballot vote could be pretty comprehensive and give voters a chance to decide their energy future.
The current governor has publicly expressed his desire to resist extending the current freeze in the renewable portfolio standards requirement (RPS). He is requesting a diverse mix of reliable, low-cost energy sources while preserving the gains we have made in the state's economy. Reinvigorating the RPS to the existing level, or a compromised level is a key part of his goal to increasing the adoption of solar panels in Ohio as solar panel costs have decreased.
On a national level, Ohio’s Senator is actively a part of legislation that may expand the range and competitiveness of renewable sources of energy, in addition to making it easier to implement energy efficiency programs on a large scale.
There is no better place for renewable energy to blossom than in the state education system. Students and parents alike have an opportunity to see the positive impact of solar and wind energy up close. Near Van Wert, Ohio, Lincolnview High School gives the students and community a particularly welcome “windfall” in the form of a nearly $400,000 check. This installment was just the third of 20, which comes from a program called Payment in Lieu of Taxes. In a region already rich with wind farms, this project still stands out for the benefits paid to the school district.
In another part of Ohio, the Adams County Ohio Valley School District has implemented a sizeable 535 kW solar array with plans to reduce the district’s energy bills by over $250,000. The systems are installed on school building roofs and in nearby fields. The local career technology center will get educational benefits, while the district will not only save but will be cash positive from year one onward.
Improving the Carbon Reduction
Fossil fueled power technology will not go away very soon. It is currently necessary to give utilities the flexibility needed to provide round the clock, uninterrupted power. However, fostered by past and present policies, there are other options available to provide the needed backup to renewable energy sources. A short while ago, we reported on how important hydropower is to provide a low carbon, “dispatchable” energy source for utilities in the area. This technology is very similar to fossil fueled technology in maintaining a reliable power supply. It can contribute on-demand power to a degree sufficient to power the state at night or as needed during periods of solar or wind fluctuation. And every megawatt-hour of electricity from hydropower has almost the same improved environmental impact as the same energy from solar or wind. Some of the best benefits from this technology:
- Hydropower accounts for approximately 75% of the nation’s total renewable electricity generation, making it the leading renewable energy source of power. It provides nearly 7% of all electricity in the nation.
- Hydropower turbines are capable of converting more than 90% of available energy into electricity, making it the most efficient form of electricity generation. By comparison, fossil fuel plants are only approximately 50% efficient.
- Every MWHr produced by hydropower prevents over 1,200 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, compared to the most effective natural gas burning technology. Compared to coal burning technology, over 2,100 pounds of CO2 are avoided.
Why are we telling you this? Because small hydropower is on the rise this year in Ohio. Six projects are slated for the state, adding over 20 MW of dispatchable power. So, in addition to the good news about solar momentum, there are also increasing renewable alternatives to make the cost of solar panels lower.
The Message for You
There has never been a better time nationwide for each homeowner to invest in solar. There has never been a better time for solar overall and renewable energy sources within the state of Ohio. The solar boom makes your potential investment even more valuable especially with adding the most efficient solar panels to your house. But as the state evolves its energy policies and as utilities come to grips increasing consumer expectations for clean energy, residents and communities progress as well. The more effort all parties make ito implement low carbon solutions, the more value everyone places on each rooftop solar system, each solar farm, each hydropower system, large or small, etc.
Interested in learning more about YellowLite’s renewable energy solutions? Reach out to us today to learn more about solar panel installation and how much solar panels cost.