Ohio solar rebates and incentives: 2024 guide

The average Ohio solar shopper will save $4,012 on solar panels with rebates and incentives.

Updated May 7, 2024

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    Written by: Alix Langone

    Ohio has a couple of excellent incentives for homeowners that want to go solar. The federal tax credit, plus an excellent solar buyback program (called net metering) can save you thousands on the upfront cost of solar panels and your future energy costs—making solar an excellent investment.

    See how much solar costs in Ohio.

    The main solar incentive in Ohio is the huge federal tax incentive, though there are a couple other programs that might also help you save.

    Incentive
    Average savings in Ohio
    Description

    Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit, formerly the federal investment tax credit (ITC)

    $4,012

    Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 30%

    SRECs

    Current market value for a single SREC is around $3-$5 per MWh.

    Clean-energy credits that you can sell for cash

    Energy Conservation for Ohioans (ECO-Link) Program

    -

    Reduced-rate loans up to $50,000 for energy efficient home upgrades. Available in five or seven year terms. 

    Residential Clean Energy Credit

    The Residential Clean Energy Credit, formerly known as the federal investment tax credit (ITC), can reduce your solar panel system's cost by 30%. Your entire system qualifies for this incentive, including equipment, labor, permitting, and sales tax.

    The average cost for a 5 kW solar panel system is around $13,373 in Ohio. Once you factor in the 30% credit, the cost comes down to $9,361.

    When you file your federal income taxes, you can claim this incentive as a credit towards your federal tax bill. Just keep in mind that to qualify for the ITC, you need to purchase your system either with cash or a solar loan–if you lease your system, you won't be eligible. 

    You also need a high enough tax bill, though you can roll over any remaining credit year-to-year until 2035 when the ITC expires. The only time you might be eligible for a direct payment for the ITC is if you're a tax-exempt entity, like a nonprofit organization.

    Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs)

    Ohio mandates that 8.5% of the state’s electricity be generated by renewables by 2026. To help achieve that goal, utility companies will buy electricity produced by customers’ solar panels in the form of solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). You earn one SREC for every megawatt-hour (MWh), or 1,000-kilowatt hours (kWh), of electricity that your solar system generates. 

    That said, experts have described the SREC market in Ohio as “oversubscribed,” meaning that the value of each SREC is quite low—ranging from $3-$5 each as of 2024. A typical rooftop solar panel system might generate something like 6 to 12 SRECs per year, so even in a best-case scenario, you’re only looking at $60 in cash incentives annually.

    Reduced-rate loan program

    The Ohio state government offers a reduced-interest loan for energy-efficient home upgrades (including solar panels) called ECO-Link. If you work with a participating contractor and are approved by a participating financial institution, you’ll be able to finance solar panels at a reduced interest rate—3% below the market rate.  The loans are available with 5-year or 7-year repayment terms.

    Ohio doesn’t offer any state-wide tax exemptions to its residents. (Many other sources claim that there’s a sales tax exemption, but we confirmed with the Ohio tax department that this is not true.) However, there are also some local incentives available depending what city or county you live. For example, Cincinnati’s Property Tax Abatement for Green Buildings allows you to postpone paying taxes on the increased value of your home for up to 15 years, and Hamilton County’s Home Improvement Program (HIP) offers qualified homeowners lower interest rates for home improvement loans.

    Tax exemption
    Description

    City of Cincinnati - Property Tax Abatement for Green Buildings

    If your property qualifies, you can defer paying taxes on the higher value of your home for 10 years for renovations or 15 years if it’s a new build.

    Hamilton County - Home Improvement Program (HIP)

    Five year loans up to $50,000 are available for 3% below the market rate.

    Yes, the biggest utility companies in Ohio offer net metering—the ultimate solar incentive. 

    With net metering in Ohio, your utility company works like a bank for solar power. When the sun is shining, you’ll earn energy credits for sending excess electricity from your solar panels to the grid. When the sun isn’t shining and you need to pull electricity from the grid, your utility draws against those credits. 

    In Ohio, you qualify for net metering regardless of when your system was installed, and your credits can be carried forward continuously. So you can bank loads of credits during the summer, then use them up slowly during the winter. Depending on the weather, your energy use, and your solar setup, you could end up paying nearly nothing for electricity, apart from a monthly meter connection fee.

    Net metering works essentially the same way for the largest utility companies in the state: Duke Energy Ohio, AEP Ohio, the companies operated by FirstEnergy, and AES Ohio (formerly Dayton Power and Light Company).

    Ohio doesn't offer any state-specific battery incentives. However, all batteries above 3 kWh in size are eligible for the 30% federal tax credit. 

    Since Ohio offers an excellent net metering program, there’s not a great financial incentive to get a solar battery. However, you could opt to buy one for back-up electricity during a power outage (partly because your utility automatically shuts down your solar panels during a blackout for safety reasons).

    Learn more about battery incentives and rebates See the complete list of solar companies in Ohio

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