Medina County homeowners are invited to join Lorain County residents in a co-op venture with a goal of making solar panel installation more affordable.
Representatives from Athens-based Third Sun Solar will discuss rooftop solar cells at a meeting 5:45 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Oberlin Public Library, 65 S. Main St.
The Lorain County Solar Co-Op last year selected Third Sun Solar to install panels for its members. The Ohio company says it has provided solar panels for residential and commercial customers throughout the Midwest.
Approximately 100 Lorain residents signed up for the co-op, said Ben Delman, communications manager for Ohio Sun, a statewide nonprofit that provides information about solar power and organizes co-ops.
“About 36 homeowners in Lorain completed the installation,” he said Thursday.
By joining a group and picking a single provider, those interested in powering their homes with solar energy can save up to 20 percent on installing panels. A single home installation costs about $11,000, Delman said.
Neighboring Cuyahoga County also has organized a co-op joined by about 200 people.
The cost of solar power systems can vary, depending on factors such as energy usage and available space. For most residential homes, the best option is a 10-kilowatt system. The average household uses 11,000 kilowatt-hours per year, he said. With one kilowatt of solar power producing about 1,000 kilowatt hours, the 10 kilowatt system covers most of electrical power.
As a backup, most solar power systems are tied to the local utility grid, he said.
“The average cost has come down by about 50 percent over the last four years,” Delman said.
He said this was due in part to the growth of the industry.
The average monthly electric bill in Ohio is $105. Solar energy can provide up to two-thirds of a home’s energy needs, Delman said, so it could replace about $66 of the cost.
He said the cost of installation could be recouped in about nine years by most homeowners based on current costs.
Contact reporter Marina Malenic at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.