Reduce Cost of Solar Panels In Ohio: Solar Incentives, Rebates, Net Metering

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Solar Panels | March 18, 2024

Man receiving cash from the state of Ohio solar incentives after learning how to save on cost of solar panels in Ohio solar panel installation by net metering, PPA and Ohio Solar tax credits.

Although the cost of solar panels in Ohio is very expensive, however Ohio solar incentives have been established to assist residents who are serious about switching to greener electricity systems.

In fact, when you install solar panels in your home, you can save on your electricity bills for the next 20 years or so.1

Reducing the cost of solar panels in Ohio involves a number of programs and initiatives that you can take to be able to afford a solar panel system.

This guide explains the Ohio solar incentives available for residents in the state who are looking to disconnect from the main power grid and reduce their household carbon footprint.

Solar Energy: Ohio Daily Sunlight Hours

You can define solar panels as devices that contain photovoltaic cells made of certain materials which when exposed to the sunlight, they produce electrons.2

The electrons flow through the circuit of solar panels to generate electricity which is used to power devices, and the excess electricity is stored in batteries.

To utilized solar power in Ohio, the number of sunlight hours you receive each day impacts how much electricity you can generate and store.

Map of the state of Ohio with each county colored to show the daily peak sun hours in each Ohio county ranging from 3.88 to 4.23 daily hours of sunlight.

Of course, to ensure they are operating at maximum capacity, you are supposed to maintain the panels and keep them clean.

Solar Panel Installation in Ohio

Having a professional electrician to install a solar panel for your home is recommended. In many cities and areas, it’s required to have a licensed electrician perform the hook up.

But all in all, being aware of how to install solar panels can also be of advantage to you.

Solar systems are made of some important components for them to function. For example, a solar panel is there to convert sunlight to electricity, and an inverter converts the electricity that the solar panel produces to alternating current that will be used in the property later.

Although some appliances can operate on direct current (DC), alternating current (AC) is required for most, which requires the inverter.

A mounting system and not forgetting the battery which is there to store any excess electricity that the solar panel produces, and a charge controller to help the battery not to overcharge, and also makes sure that there are no current reversals.

Although most panels are installed on roofs that have the natural pitch needed for the panels to catch the most sun, solar panels may be installed on the ground (not as eco friendly as the roof installation), or a flat roof.

Solar Panel Installation Cost: Ohio

The cost of installing solar panels varies by state.

Two solar installer on the roof of a house installing a racking system for solar panel.

(Image: Edmund Tse16)

According to the center for sustainable energy,7 the solar panel installation cost can range between $15,000 and $25,000. There are a number of things that can make your solar panel a little bit higher, for instance, the inflation levels.

The federal government has established a solar investment tax credit that allows residents to reduce the cost of the system by 30 percent.

You will not only save money, but also reduce the carbon emission in your area. You will also create a job for someone if you decide to employ a contractor to help you install your solar system.

Solar Panels Ohio

The cost of solar panels in Ohio has decreased by 53% over the last 10 years,3 while the number of people that install solar panels is also surprisingly increasing. Not only did Ohio install 10 Megawatts of solar in the state, but also has the rule of net metering Ohio that favors the Ohioans.8

This rule allows customers who produce up to 25 kilowatt of electricity to sell the excess electricity to their solar energy companies. Hospitals are also given such opportunities but there are no limits on the sizes of solar panels.

The installation of solar panels in Ohio has made it possible for 7,411 residents to secure jobs, while 110,827 homes have installed solar panels.

The state government has also been very helpful for those who would want to install solar panels in their homes by providing Ohio solar incentives, which help the residents reduce the cost of solar panels in Ohio.

The total solar investment in the state is currently $1.5 million.

How Much Are Solar Panels in Ohio?

So, how much are solar panels in Ohio? It depends.

It is simple, every home is different and the amount of money one person uses is not the exact amount that the other person uses when installing a solar panel.

Graphics of average cost of solar panels in Ohio showing cut-out map of state of Ohio and cost of each solar panels systems producing electricity from 3kW to 10kW.

Nevertheless, the cost of solar panels in Ohio only ranges between $12,199 and $16,503.

This is only the estimated amount, if you haven’t included the 30% federal incentive tax credit in the gross price for your solar panel.

Price per watt System cost Cost after ITC
10kw $28,700 $21,238
8kw $22,960 $16,990
6kw $17,220 $12,743
5kw $14,350 $10,619
4kw $11,480 $8,495
3kw $8,610 $6,371

Factors Influencing the Total Cost of Solar Panels in Ohio

  1. Roof: You want to install solar panels on your roof, you should look at the type and the condition that your roof has. There are so many types of roofs out there.
    For example, gravel, tar and metal. The cost of solar panels in Ohio will increase if you have a flat roof or other special requirements
  2. Size of your system: If your solar system is large, then the more expensive it will be because it can require more panels
  3. Installation Company: You are one of those people who want a reputable company to install your solar panel. Right?
    You should prepare for their services, and this will increase the total cost of your solar panels
  4. Interconnection and permitting: If you plan on using net metering strategies, the system will have to be interconnected. And, almost every area in Ohio requires a permit before installing solar panels.
    You will have to pay for all these, and the total cost of solar panels in Ohio will increase.

Solar Panels for Home in Ohio: Ohio Solar Incentives

Come to think of it for a moment, just from the word, solar depends on the Sun to generate electricity, meaning it is a reliable source of energy.

In addition to solar energy, the state of Ohio also utilizes biomass, wind, and hydroelectric power.

Pie chart showing Ohio renewable energy consumption including Ohio wind energy, biomass energy, geothermal energy, hydroelectric energy and solar energy in the state of Ohio for 2022.

Nobody can deny the fact that the cost of installing solar panels is very high, but you should not also take advantage of Ohio solar incentives, without thinking of the important factors to determine the smooth functioning of the solar system when installed in your home.

You should be aware of when the process of installing your solar panel will end, especially if the solar system being installed has a high energy, it will take more time. And also check on the warranty of the solar panel.

It’s important to understand the cost of solar panels in Ohio before signing any contracts.

Also, whether the location you are in receives the maximum amount of sunlight, energy requirements in your home, and lastly whether you will connect the solar to the main power grid.

What Is Solar Energy?

What is solar energy? You thought it right, it is any type of energy produced from the sun.

The wonder of solar energy radiation is that it can produce electricity, heat and help plants with any type of chemical reaction they need.2

Is Solar Energy Renewable?

Solar energy is renewable, since it is derived from the sun.

The sun as a source of power has been used for billions of years.

Solar array in East Cleveland, Ohio directly harnessing sunlight and convert to a renewable energy.

(Image: U.S. Department of Energy18)

Not surprising because the sun has been there even before humans were created, and the first solar cell technology was invented in the 1800’s.9

Although, the amount of electricity that you get when the Sun is at its peak hours, is not the same amount of electricity that you will have when there is not much sunlight.

Benefits of Solar Energy

  • A solar system produces 50g of carbon dioxide per watt in its lifetime and a coal power plant emits 1000g of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.4 This is according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.10
    This simply means that when you use solar panels to power your home, then you would be impacting the environment in a positive manner, because by using a power source it emits much lower carbon to the atmosphere
  • When you think of going solar you should know that you are impacting someone’s life by creating a job opportunity for the person. Therefore, solar not only boosts the economy of a state but also positively affects the local community.
  • With the reduced cost of solar panels in Ohio, you are free to purchase a solar panel at a cheaper price. Do not kill yourself from the panel prices, just take advantage of the 30% tax incentive the government offers.

Free Solar Panels Ohio: Solar Incentives

It is very possible to be given free solar panels, but only when you lease them, or when you are in a Power Purchase Agreement (P.P.A).

However, you will have to pay for the electricity you will use, thus you will not own the system.

With the reduced cost of solar panels in Ohio and the availability of solar rebates from the government, governments and residents look forward to save thousands of dollars when going solar.

Of course, you can massively reduce the cost of installing solar panels at your home, by using the following Ohio solar incentives:

So although there is no full way to learn how to get solar panels for free in Ohio, there are some options that can significantly reduce the cost:

Community Solar Programs

Community solar programs are offered by independent solar or the utilities who allow customers to advocate for the energy produced by the nearby solar. You do not need to own a house or rather a solar panel to participate in community solar programs.

So many households share the benefits that the energy generates without necessarily having the ideal rooftop for installing solar panels to their houses.

Community solar programs allow users to obtain solar generated electricity without having the panels themselves.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

This is where the solar company allows you to lease their solar system. They install for you for free but you agree to pay for the amount of electricity that you will be using on a monthly basis.

This amount that you pay is normally smaller than the amount that you would have paid for electricity from the grid.

You will be able to save money without paying the initial cost but you will not own the solar panel.

Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) in Ohio

The government helps reduce the cost of solar panels in Ohio by providing people with rebates and Ohio solar incentives.

The Ohio advanced energy fund and SREC programs have not also been left behind, as they also offer a number of rebates and incentives to solar energy systems.

Screenshot from Ohio state official website with yellow arrows pointing website title and article title about renewable energy resource facility in state of Ohio.

(Image: Public Utilities Commission of Ohio20)

There are also many utility companies that offer rebates for the customers who would like to install solar energy systems in their homes or businesses therefore reducing the cost of solar panels.

Homeowners can also benefit from selling solar renewable energy credits to the utility companies when they generate excess electricity from the solar panels, therefore balancing the cost of their investments.

These solar panels may be free but you will have to pay for some expenses that are associated with them. Interconnection fees, site assessment, monitoring, permitting and maintenance are some of the costs that you will have to pay.

But the costs you pay are usually smaller than the amount of money that you would have used to purchase the whole solar panel system.

Federal Energy Credits: Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

Federal energy credit is one program that the government sponsors. They have the aim to reduce the cost of solar panels to the residents, create job employment for the people and also help reduce carbon footprint in the environment.

The federal energy credits program mainly focuses on those people who would want to install solar systems in their homes.

They are given an incentive of about 30% of the total amount of money they are going to use to install solar panels. However it is mostly advisable to take advice from your professional installers concerning claiming this energy credit or your tax liability to avoid using extra money in your process of installing solar panels.

He will ensure that you are qualified to claim the federal energy credit and you will fill an IRS form 5695 to your federal tax return.11

Net Metering Ohio

Net metering is the mechanism that is put in place to allow homeowners and businesses to export the excess energy that their solar panels produce back to the grid.

This mechanism cannot take place when the on-grid system is not connected to the main utility, as it is the one that carries out this net metering policy.

Eye-level view of a church with lush green grass on Ohio with solar panel installed on its roof for additional source of power.

(Image: Mbrickn19)

Can you really sell what you do not have? Of course not, know how much electricity you are going to use in order to apply the net metering Ohio policy.

The safety standards specified by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) must be adhered to by the net metering systems.

Although, customer generators may not be required to comply with these safety and performance standards by the utility companies.

Benefits of Net Metering

  1. You will not need a battery to store the excess electricity that your solar panel produces since the utility grid does this by itself
  2. Extra credit and revenue is being received by the owner of the solar panel if he or she has used a smaller amount of energy than the one being produced in the system
  3. The cost of maintaining solar panels is very low because you use generator and batteries to store the excess energy produced. You can do away with these components by having net metering and further reducing the cost of your maintenance

Solar Rebates From the Government

A solar rebate is an amount of money that the government gives to its people to reduce the cost of solar panels. It is good to note that solar rebates from the government do not decrease the solar tax credit.

According to the clean energy regulator,12 the rebate of anyone who buys a solar system that is up to 100 kw, then it will be called Small Scale Technology Certificate (STC) program.

The funds are provided by people who are going to buy the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from you. You will be issued the certificates when you go to buy a solar system for your home.

You will have to sell these certificates to level the amount of upfront cost of solar panels you have bought. Unlike ITC, you will apply for a rebate directly against the price of the solar system you want to buy.

This is because the amount of rebate that you get will depend on the price of the solar system. Hurry up and catch your lack, because rebates don’t last for long , and the amount of rebate you get will depend on the price of the solar panels you require.

So, check the prices in the market as well.

Solar Farms in Ohio

Solar farms are a large area of land that has a lot of solar panels and is mainly set aside to generate electricity.

Solar farms are renewable energy sources that help to collect energy from the sun, therefore, reducing the carbon emission in the atmosphere.

Map showing locations of solar plants in Ohio using yellow markers and Ohio solar panels with a US cut out showing the location of the state of Ohio.

Solar energy is now booming in Ohio, only three solar farms in Ohio are under operation 22 of them are in the planning phase and 11 are under construction.5

There are mainly two types of solar farms. The first is called the community solar farm, where a number of households share the same solar panel and they get to share the benefits of solar energy together.

The other one is the utility-scale farms where solar panels are kept in very large lands where there is no distraction to the amount of sunlight that reaches the panels, the sun then produces high voltage electricity that then reaches your home or your business building.

Benefits of Solar Farms

  • 2018 and 2019 studies show that it is very beneficial to plant crops and you have solar farms in the same area in the process called ‘agro voltaics’. This kind of land will encourage biodiversity and at the same time increase the fertility of the soil in case you want to only plant crops on the land
  • There is no place that does not receive at least a few hours of sunlight around the world, this simply means that the solar farms can be anywhere in the world

Ohio Solar Program: Ohio Solar Incentives, Ohio Solar Tax Credit

There are a number of programs in Ohio to help reduce the cost of solar panels. An example is the Energy Conservation for homes in Ohio.13

This program is qualified for projects like cooling system replacement, roofing, window replacing and many more.

Apply for this program, and when you qualify, just relax and let the loan officer handle the rest. They will buy an investment for you at a lower price, and the interest rate reduction will be passed straight to your savings.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

How thoughtful the government is to us. Imagine the government deducting tax credit from the amount that you owe it, if you do not believe it, then the time is now.

But hey, this benefit is not given to everyone, only people who have decided to go solar.

You first need to calculate the amount of money to be used during the solar installation process, apply for the federal solar tax credit, and the government will help you by reducing 30% of the total amount you are going to use. But when did the government start thinking of you in this wonderful way?

All this federal solar tax credit thing happened way back in the administration of George W. Bush, who offered 30%, but it was later reduced to 26%.

Screenshot of Internal Revenue Service form 5695 with yellow arrow pointing to the form title Residential Energy Credits.

(Image: Internal Revenue Service21)

This increment to 30% was only offered recently in 2022, and will last until 2032.

“Time flies” as the age goes, you will not know how fast 2032 will arrive, so take the advantage sooner. 26% will be offered again in the year 2034, and further be reduced to 22% in 2035 unless the congress renews it.

Back to the history of solar incentive tax credit. This thing happened a long time ago in the administration of George Bush in 2005.6

This 30% tax credit was first issued, and later reduced to 26%, and now we have the 30% tax credit again.

You are using $30,000 to install your solar panel, if you deduct 30% from the total amount you will be able to save $9,000 and use $21,000 to install your solar system. But this amount is only going to be used to reduce the tax that you owe the government, and the rest of the liability remaining will be rolled over to the next tax year.

You are qualified to this solar tax credit if you are a resident of Ohio and own a solar panel. The solar panel should not be leased or be in power purchase agreement with any company.

And also if the solar panel is being used for the first time or it is new.

Solar tax credit only covers the permitting fees and other soft costs, energy storage devices, solar panels, inverters and the labor for the installation process but not your roof expense as there are other financial options that can cover that.14

Does Solar Increase Home Value?

Any amount of money that you save from installing solar panels in your home increases the value of your property for at least $20. Does solar increase home value?

Study shows that the home value of properties with solar panels increases, but the amount depends on a number of factors.

Eye-level shot of the facade of a brick residential house showing solar panel system installed on the roof used to absorb sunlight and convert to energy.

(Image: Michael Coghlan17)

The solar panels will not be of help to you if it only remains with less than 10 years.

And if you are a homeowner who still thinks of going solar, it is important to get at least three quotes from top rated solar companies and compare them to know which rate fits you best.

How To Increase Home Value With Solar

  1. Think of yourself in this scenario, you want to purchase a property with solar but the one who installed the property is close to unknown, will you really feel safe? You will even start thinking of how you are not going to buy the house.
    To avoid this, choose a reputable company and installer to install your solar panels for you
  2. Look for quality solar panels that have a warranty of many years. Buyers would want to look into the history of the solar panels before buying it, so be smart when it comes to this sector.
    These are panels that can last up to 40 years
  3. Make sure to educate the buyer of your home about the solar panel, and whether you are owning it or leasing it, so that the buyer would know what to do

How Does the Solar Tax Credit Work If I Don’t Owe Taxes?

Our government friends think of us. They make sure that we have access to the public funds and we should also play our part in paying taxes to the government.

Now back to the question, how does the solar tax credit work if I don’t owe taxes?

The answer to this question is simple, only those who are eligible to pay taxes are the ones that will benefit from the solar tax credit.

Solar Panel Cost Calculator Ohio: Ohio Solar Incentives

A solar panel calculator can help you figure the size of the system you’ll need.

The cost of solar panels in Ohio right now is $16,000. If you have claimed the federal incentive tax credit, the amount will reduce by 30%.

This will be $16,000 x 30% = $4,800.

This amount that you have saved does not go into your pocket, but rather it is used to reduce the tax liability that you owe the federal and the remaining amount of credit is rolled over the next tax year.

Why Are Solar Panels So Expensive?

It is not surprising that you have been asking yourself, why are solar panels so expensive? You have looked for different quotes from different solar companies, and the cost of solar panels in Ohio are surprisingly very expensive.

But the solar energy comes from the sun, why all this cost?

The answer is simple; from the time solar panels are produced to the time they are installed in your homes is a very costly process. There are some amounts of money that you need to pay for example the upfront cost and maintenance cost.

But the good news is that there is a reduced cost of solar panels in Ohio that you can take advantage of, for example the government rebates and the Ohio solar incentives.

Carbon Footprint Solar Panels

The answer can never be yes if you are ever asked whether manufacturing companies produce carbon or not, even the solar panel companies. From that you may have an idea of what carbon footprint is.15

For solar panels, the carbon footprint is generated during the mining of materials, the manufacturing and the disposal process.

The same is true for the battery storage system you use, which means that although there’s no emissions from actually making the electricity, the total carbon footprint of the panels and batteries make them not as ecofriendly an energy source as nuclear power.

However, there is a big difference in the release of carbon dioxide by the solar panels and the release of carbon by the coal-powered electricity sources.

Top view of solar panels installed on the roof of a house harnessing the sunlight and produce clean energy.

(Image: Kelly22)

The amount of the exact carbon footprint of solar panels is debated, with many statistics omitting the mining operations or emission heavy disposal task.

By understanding the Ohio solar incentives available, you can learn how to reduce the cost of solar panels in Ohio by thousands of dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ohio Solar Incentives

Is It Worth Going Solar in Ohio?

Yes, it is worth going solar in Ohio. You will be able to save your electricity bills and also help reduce carbon emission in the atmosphere.

Is Solar Profitable in Ohio?

As long as you have purchased the solar system in cash or you have taken a loan from somewhere. They are very much profitable.

What Is the Largest Solar Program in Ohio?

The largest solar project in Ohio is Hillcrest solar. It is located in Brown County and is a 200 megawatt facility.


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