Cost of Renewable Energy in Ohio

Historically, Ohio’s electricity has been generated largely from coal, with natural gas and nuclear also coming into the mix. The last few years, though, have seen a decline in the amount of energy produced by burning coal and a large increase in electricity produced by natural gas. Fortunately, that’s all changing.

With the growing interest in renewable energy worldwide, residents of the Buckeye State are looking more toward clean, green energy. The state’s electricity market has been deregulated for over 20 years, so consumers are free to choose their energy provider — which means they can choose renewable energy sources, too.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is generated from sustainable sources that are naturally replenished. The shift toward clean energy production has accelerated massively in recent years as the threat of climate change has become evident. Together with a desire to reduce pollution and the fact that fossil fuels are running out, this has encouraged governments around the world to invest heavily in renewable energy alternatives.

Here are the main types of renewable energy:

Solar Energy: Humanity has utilized the sun's energy throughout history, but its use for electricity generation only became a reality with the development of the first photovoltaic panels in the 1950s. Today, the sun’s energy has become one of the main players in renewable energy production.

Solar energy is easily scalable, from mounting a few panels on the roof of a home or factory to large solar farms covering many acres. Whether for personal use or to provide electricity for the grid, solar power is one of the easiest ways to generate clean energy.

According to US Energy Information Administration (EIA) figures, solar energy contributed just 2% of the total electricity in the country in 20191, but luckily solar is one of the fastest-growing green energy sources in the nation.

Wind Energy: The use of wind power for electricity generation has grown exponentially in the US and across the world in recent years. The EIA says that individual turbines and wind farms, both inland and offshore, generate a quarter of total renewable energy nationally.

Hydroelectric: Hydroelectric projects have long played a significant role in energy production, and this will likely continue to be the case. Though there are concerns about the negative environmental impact that some projects have, generating electricity from a dam's water flow is a viable green energy source. Water is set to become even more important in the future as wave and tidal power generation technologies are further developed.

Geothermal: Using heat from deep under the Earth’s surface is a relatively new idea, but is rapidly becoming more popular, both for individuals and nationally.

Biomass: Growing crops for energy production and using other biofuels has become common. Like solar, it provides 2% of the US electricity generating capacity, and that is set to increase.

How much does renewable energy cost in Ohio?

The EIA figures for November 2020 show the average cost of electricity for residential customers in Ohio was 12.35 cents per kilowatt-hour, up from 12.21 the previous year. For industrial use, the figure was 5.71¢ per kWh2. This compares to national averages of 13.35¢ per kWh for residential and 6.48 ¢ per kWh for commercial. This puts Ohio just about in the middle for electricity prices in the US.

Opting for a supplier that offers electricity generated from renewable energy sources does not necessarily mean more expense. While it is true that some companies do charge their customers a monthly fee for their green plans, this is by no means universal. The fact that the market in Ohio is deregulated means that there is competition, and by choosing carefully, you can support renewable energy without hurting your bank account.

How much does a solar system cost in Ohio?

The size of the average solar system for home use is 5 kW. With the current price for photovoltaic panels coming in at $2.82 per watt, that gives a figure of around $14,100 for the installation. Depending upon the company you choose, that price can vary from $12,000 to just over $16,000.

However, when you consider the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is 26% as of 2021, and add the local financial incentives, the final figure is likely to be south of $10,400.

Is it worth going solar in Ohio?

While Ohio may not be the sunniest state in the US, there is certainly enough light to generate the electricity you need. With electricity prices as they are, you should see a profit after six to eight years.

Solar energy is available not just from individual systems. Ohio is seeing something of a boom in solar energy capacity, and there are already quite a few solar arrays that provide electricity for communities or the grid and many more that are planned. So you don’t have to install your own solar system to take advantage of this type of renewable energy.

How many solar panels do I need?

There are several variables to take into account when determining how many photovoltaic panels you might need.

First, you will need to find out how much power you use. You can do this by looking at past utility bills. Then you need to find out how much sunlight you can expect, where the panels will be located, and their efficiency. Solar panels vary in wattage, typically between 150W and 370W, so you will end up establishing a range rather than a precise number.

As a rough guide, the average homeowner needs between 28-34 panels to supply all the electricity they need. The size of panels varies but is generally a little more than 5 feet by 3½ feet. What is right for a house in California will not be right for a house in Ohio. As California gets more sunlight, a smaller array will produce as much electricity as a larger Ohio-based one.

As you can see, the final equation is a complex one, and you should rely on the advice of your chosen supplier. Their knowledge and practical experience will ensure you have enough capacity for your needs. Alternatively, you can simply sign up for a clean energy supplier and save yourself the trouble and financial investment. Learn more about the unlimited energy plans we offer our customers here.

Is it harder to sell a house with solar panels?

Far from it being harder to sell, a house equipped with solar panels is actually easier to sell and worth more. A report by Zillow in 2019 discovered that homes with solar capability were worth 4.1% more than their non-solar counterparts3. This shouldn’t be a surprise; no one likes paying utility bills, so home-produced energy is a plus.

The benefits aren’t quite so clear-cut for those that lease solar panels. Not only are most prospective buyers not used to the idea of solar panel leasing, but you may be saddled with buying yourself out of the leasing contract if you can’t find someone to take it over. This situation is changing rapidly as more people become aware of the option of leasing and see the benefits of generating their own electricity supply.

Is renewable energy in Ohio right for me?

Renewable energy is the future, and the change inevitable. Not only are fossil fuels a huge contributor to carbon emissions and pollutants, but the resources are dwindling; they simply can’t provide us with the energy we will need in the future. Renewables like solar and wind can and will fill the vacuum.

You can help. Ohio may not be a leader in clean energy yet, but it is making strenuous efforts to cut its reliance on fossil fuels. Choosing to support clean, renewable energy sources is a smart move not just for you but for the planet. If you choose an energy provider that delivers electricity generated from green sources, you can accelerate the change.

In the long term, this is not just ecologically important. As the reserves of fossil fuels diminish, the costs of extraction and processing will rise. There’s no question about that. Those increased costs will be passed on to you, the consumer. Meanwhile, with improving technology and the economies of scale, the price of power from renewables will drop. You help save the planet and help your wallet, too!

It doesn’t matter which state you are from; switching to an energy provider that provides renewable energy is a positive step. Ohioans are fortunate that their state has a deregulated energy market, and they have the freedom to choose. By no means is every state the same.

Choose Inspire Clean Energy

We offer our customers 100% renewable, clean energy at a flat monthly rate with no long-term contracts. The online sign-up process is simple and takes only a few minutes; then you will be a clean energy consumer, drastically reducing your carbon footprint. The flat-rate price takes out all the surprises that can come with your energy bill, and the changeover is completely seamless.

Inspire Clean Energy is here to help you play your part in transforming the planet, so switch to unlimited clean energy to get started today.