Solar energy

photo of solar panels
SERGEY EDENTOD / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

State regulators have denied AEP’s plan to charge ratepayers a fee for what would be the largest solar project in Ohio.

The decision came down to whether electric customers needed the power plant in order to justify the additional cost to electric bills.

AEP proposed guaranteeing the purchase of solar power from two plants in Highland County, currently in development.

But the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ruled against the proposal, saying AEP did not prove it was needed in order to add a new 28 cent monthly fee for the average ratepayer.

photo of Mike DeWine
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The proposed law that creates subsidies for nuclear, coal, and solar energy and ultimately changes everyone’s electric bills is stuck in limbo for two weeks. 

House Speaker Larry Householder said his chamber was one vote short of passing it this week, but Gov. Mike DeWine said he’s ready to sign the bill.

A photo of George Wood and Ted Strickland
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A school district in southeast Ohio flipped the switch on its new solar energy installation, officially bringing in 70% of its energy from the renewable source. School officials hope more local districts follow their lead.

  

Federal Hocking Local Schools turned on its solar power array, generating about 700 kilowatts through nearly 2,000 solar panels on the roof of the connected middle and high school buildings. The district said the move can be a good educational opportunity for students.

A photo of a nuclear cooling tower
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Ohio House has dramatically changed the comprehensive energy bill that would bailout the state’s nuclear power plants and repeal alternative energy mandates. 

Under the changes neither wind nor solar power can qualify for the so-called “Clean Air Credits,” according to House Energy committee chair Nino Vitale (R-Urbana).

This seemingly leaves nuclear power as the only beneficiary of the program. 

photo of Dave Griffing
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The Ohio House is holding hearings on a bill that would revamp the way renewable and nuclear energy is incentivized in the state. A committee heard from FirstEnergy Solutions, the owners of Ohio’s two nuclear plants, which said this bill brings parity to energy policy. 

The energy bill would give out what’s being call “clean air” credits to energy generators who don’t produce carbon emissions. It would also do away with the green energy standards that require utilities to invest in alternative sources.

solar panel
Sergey Edentod / Shutterstock

Unlikely groups are coming together to support what would be Ohio’s largest solar farm. Supporters of the project say it would give one area of the state a major boost.

Environmental advocates, business groups, and even a coal company are joining forces to support a solar farm proposal in Highland County.

Matt Evans, with the Boich Companies, a coal investor, said this would bring sorely needed jobs to Appalachia.

College of Wooster solar panels
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are using a grant from the Department of Energy to test the durability of a newer solar panel design.

The design, PERC, is able to put out more energy than standard crystalline silicon modules, lowering the cost for solar projects. Now, the university wants to know how long this design can last in real world conditions.

photo of Ohio solar farm projects
DAN KONIK / SHUTTERSTOCK

A research project at Case Western Reserve University and one at an Akron company --  Echogen – have been awarded a total of $2.4 million from the  Department of Energy for solar research projects. And though solar has lagged in Ohio, three big solar farms are in the works.

Greg Courtney
Tim Rudell / WKSU

A fledging eco-tech company in eastern Stark County may be getting some big national business. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports on the unlikely emergence of Alliance-based Wind Turbines of Ohio.

“Green Lab,” is a technology for integrating control of the utilities of institutional buildings, including incorporating renewable energy from on-site wind and solar generators