September 29, 2017 | By Mathew Roberts for the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council
Four communities in the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC) – Athens, Amesville, the remaining unincorporated areas of Athens County, and Somerset (Perry County) – have recently added solar resources to their local government websites to inform residents about the considerations and steps one should take when pursing self-owned solar generation projects.
The SOPEC mission is to help communities identify how dollars are leaving their community through energy utility payments and to offer public services and public programs that keep more dollars in Southeast Ohio. A solution to ensuring more electric utility dollars stay in Southeast Ohio is to assist and educate SOPEC member-communities, mainly their residents and businesses, about how solar system ownership can direct dollars to local solar installers instead of paying for energy from the electric grid.
When a homeowner or business decides to invest in a solar system, they are either paying back the solar installer directly for the full cost of the installation, a financial institution that gave them a loan, or another third-party investor who acts as the owner, but doesn’t receive the benefits of the using the energy generated by the solar system. In these cases, the solar beneficiary is now paying a lower amount to the electric grid because they are using the energy generated from the solar system first.
Ideally, solar system users will be paying a lower monthly bill to pay back the cost of the solar installation than what they were originally paying to buy power from the electric grid. This is not always the case, but nevertheless, more dollars are circulated in the solar economy. When one pays for electricity from the grid, particularly from an investor-owned utility, dollars must first be used to satisfy the shareholders, executive payrolls, and other services offered by the grid and its operators.
The solar resources generated by the SolSmart Advisor, Sarah Conley-Ballew, for the four SOPEC member-communities will serve to educate residents, businesses, and visitors about what should be considered when deciding to invest in a solar system.
By working with SolSmart, SOPEC member-communities now and into the future will be recognized for taking the necessary steps to improve solar market conditions. This partnership with the Department of Energy-funded SolSmart program will lead to a Bronze designation (if all criteria is met) for Athens, Amesville, Athens County, and Somerset. The high-profile, nationally recognized designation that comes with participation in the SolSmart program can lead to faster, easier, and more affordable solar investments within the SOPEC member-communities.
For more information about the SolSmart program, please visit: http://www.gosparc.org/