“Solar energy is one of the key renewable energies of the present and the future.”
Jose Luis Esparza, Gaia Energy LLC
Solar power is going mainstream. Our Solarize Cincy campaign is intended to help grow the demand for solar in Greater Cincinnati by getting residents, businesses, and local governments excited about the new, modern solar. Solar prices have dropped 73% in the past 10 years, so we believe now is a great time to help the region understand the benefits solar power can provide.
Our goal is to install 50 new solar projects by the end of June 2016. If each of these 50 projects only installed a very modest solar array of 3 kW, they would collectively:
To make solar even more accessible, we’ve partnered with the city of Cincinnati to offer an incentive to Solarize Cincy participants who are also Cincinnati residents. Under the partnership, city of Cincinnati residents can receive $300 per kW, with a maximum incentive per home of $1,500. Funding is limited and available on a first come first served basis. (Click here to see how we’re doing.)
We launched our campaign on October 1, 2015 in the Duke Energy Go Green Garden at the Cincinnati Zoo. City of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Thayne Maynard of the Cincinnati Zoo, and Andy Holzhauser of the Energy Alliance all spoke about the benefits that solar power for homeowners and the region. In addition to a great response from our local media, the event was a great opportunity to bring together the region’s solar influencers, from installers to government leaders, to fellow nonprofit partners.
Below are some pictures from our launch event.
Andy Holzhauser, Energy Alliance:
“We believe the time has come for solar to be an impactful, economically feasible and meaningful energy source for homes in our area. Solar is truly at the tipping point.”
Mayor John Cranley:
“It’s good for the environment and it’s good for your pocketbook… …this is a win-win.”
Thayne Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo:
“It is possible to thrive and live sustainably and solar is a big part of that for the Cincinnati Zoo.”
Attendees at our launch – from left to right: Josh Brooks, Brewster Rhoads, Michael Forrester, Sue Magness, Andy Holzhauser, Dane Ervick, Chris Meyer, Jeremy Faust, Thayne Maynard, Beth Robeson, Josh Moore, Steve Schumacher, Mark Wiley, Mark Fisher, Larry Feist, Toni Winston, Chad Yelton, Yancy Deering, Larry Falkin, and Sophia Cifuentes.
Photos by Brad Robeson
The OKI Regional Council of Governments has launched an online interactive Solar Map to help homeowners determine if their home is a good fit for solar. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, the Solar Map provides information about the solar potential of buildings in the Greater Cincinnati region.
OKI would like you to keep in mind that this isn’t a perfect resource. The information produced by the tool is based on survey data and can’t substitute for a professional evaluation, but it is a great place to start.
1. Type the address of the building in question in the search bar in the upper right of the browser window:
2. Click on the building in the map:
3. See your solar potential from the results that appear on the left pane of the browser window:
About OKI: The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) is a council of local governments, business organizations, and community groups committed to developing collaborative strategies to improve the quality of life and the economic vitality of the region.
Guest writer Travis Miller is the Regional Planning Manager at the OKI Regional Council of Governments, an organization which we partner with frequently. OKI recently developed an interactive online Solar Ready map for people to get an initial idea of a building’s solar potential. Here’s a great post by Travis advocating solar in the OKI region:
Should we be? I love the sun! To me, there’s nothing much better than spending time outside on a sunny day – just soaking it in. Regardless of the season, sunny days just seem to be better days. I’d never really thought about the direct benefits of the sun or given much consideration to solar as an energy source… certainly not here in the Midwest. Today, I am going to share with you some pretty interesting findings I have come across regarding solar power. First, power from solar energy is something only viable in the far south or southwestern regions, right? Not true.
Consider this – Germany is the global leader in installed solar capacity, yet, when you measure the level of solar energy hitting the earth’s surface on an annual basis, Germany has a very similar solar resource to that of Alaska. The bottom line is that solar works in every state, regardless of temperature.
Okay, so we have a fair amount of solar energy landing in our region, but it’s expensive to install solar panels is what I have heard.
Maybe it used to be expensive, but today solar power is becoming significantly cheaper. The cost of solar panels has dropped 99% since the 1970s. The total installed costs for solar PV at the residential level has followed and prices fell by over 50% between 2009 and 2014 alone. Declining prices has resulted in impressive growth rates. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Solar Market Insight Report 2014 Q4:
The chart below shows the amount of solar PV installed each year in the US – as you can see, it’s been exponential. To put this in perspective, 12,000 Mega Watts installed in 2013 is enough to power about 2 million homes.
Solar is the fastest growing energy generation technology in the U.S., growing even faster than wind power or natural gas. Nationally, rooftop solar PV (photovoltaic) systems are becoming more mainstream and, based on the amount of investments being made by homeowners, businesses and even utility companies, solar is more than a short-term trend.
With the recent advent of home batteries able to store power generated from rooftop solar panels and operate household appliances, the future potential of solar is even more interesting.
Here in the Tri-State, installations are also expected to continue to increase in the foreseeable future. Here at OKI we’ve been monitoring national trends in solar development since 2012 and have worked with local and national partners to develop tools for our local communities use to better manage the expected increase in installations. OKI’s primary interest in solar is to ensure that communities in the region are armed with the best information and best tools available as they and their residents consider solar.
If you think you may be interested in making a solar investment on your home, be sure to visit the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance’s website. GCEA is one of OKI’s Solar Ready partners and has recently launched the Solarize Cincinnati program. Their program provides a free home solar assessment and opportunities for reduced installation costs for participants – visit www.greatercea.org/solar for more information.
Here are some pretty cool, local solar projects.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s parking lot canopy is the largest publicly accessible solar system in the WORLD!
The IKEA store in West Chester Township has the largest rooftop system in the region.
Many of the Walgreens stores in the region have solar arrays on their roofs. This Walgreens is located in Deer Park on E. Galbraith Rd.
For more information on solar in our region, including an estimate of the solar potential of your home or business in the OKI region, visit solar.oki.org and find your rooftop on our interactive map.
OKI staff is currently available to provide technical assist to any community in the region interested in applying any of the best practices found at solar.oki.org.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or to inquire about how your community can get assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you enjoy a sunny day soon!