Ohio community solar pilot would unlock 1.75 GW market


Advocates are drumming up support for Ohio House Bill 197, a law that would carve out a 1.75 GW community solar program for the state. Ohio state representatives James M. Hoops (R-Napoleon) and Sharon Ray (R-Wadsworth) introduced the legislation.

Community solar programs involve residential and commercial electricity customers signing up for a portion of an off-site solar facility’s generation, receiving bill credits for the generated electricity. The Department of Energy said community solar customers can typically expect to see 10% to 20% savings on their annual electricity costs.

Ohio University conducted an economic analysis on the program, finding that it would generate an estima9ted $5.6 billion in gross output and $409.5 million in local tax revenues.

“IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) members have been generating and distributing energy to Ohio residents for more than 100 years, and Community Solar could only deepen that relationship, creating opportunities for Ohio workers to lead the transition to a cleaner energy future,” said IBEW International Representative Steve Crum.

House Bill 197 allows for the installation of 1,750 MW of new capacity. This includes 500 MW allocated to brownfield sites like capped landfills, retired coal facilities, and more. An additional 250 MW will be allotted for qualified sites in the Appalachian region, a region that has economically relied on coal.

The 1000 MW of standard capacity additions will be capped at 250 MW of development per year for four years, with project sizes capped at 10 MW each. Brownfield projects are capped at 20 MW and may be eligible for the Inflation Reduction Act energy community tax credit adder.

All projects in the program would be required to be constructed within five years. In total, the 1.75 GW of capacity would contribute an estimated 2% of the state’s electricity retail sales, said Ohio University. Find a recording of an informational session about the pilot program here.

Image: Ohio University

“House Bill 197 isn’t just a leap towards a greener future; it’s a financial boon for our great state,” said Tristan Rader, Ohio director of Solar United Neighbors. “By unleashing billions in economic activity and pumping hundreds of millions into our local tax coffers, this community solar initiative showcases the profound win-win potential of sustainable energy.”

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