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Cleveland, Ohio 44128

Learn about solar


What is solar? What is a solar panel?

Solar panels are light weight photovoltaic(PV) panels that harness the sun's energy (photons) and convert it into DC electricity. Our custom specified inverters then invert this DC electricity into AC electricity, which then can easily be used around your home or business. 

Where are they installed?

Bold Alternatives specializes in creating creative custom designs for solar solutions. Solar panels can be installed just about anywhere that is shade free. Bold Alternatives transforms idle space and develops it into a space of production. The most common areas of transformation are roof space and fields. 

How do they work?

Each panel converts sunlight into direct current(DC) electricity. Inverters then invert the DC electricity into alternating current(AC) electricity. The utility meter then records how much electricity is produced from the panels and used from the grid. When the system produces more than enough electricity to power the building, the electricity then flows back into the grid, causing the utility meter to "roll backwards". 

Solar in Northeast Ohio?

Though it can be cloudy and snowy in NE Ohio, it is still possible to utilize solar energy. Obviously, NE Ohio experiences more sunshine in the summer than winter, so therefore the production of electricity is mainly in the summer. Navigators and meteorologists have kept detailed records of the amount of sunshine in Northeast Ohio, and report that we receive an average of 4.2 hours of full sunshine per day. For comparison, Tampa, Florida receives an average of 5.2 hours of full sunshine per day. Even during cloudy or partly cloudy days, all of our solar PV systems will produce electricity. The graph below shows the different in the amount of sunshine Northeast, Ohio receives in the summer compared to the winter.

When snow settles on the panels, it easy melts off because once the cell are producing electricity they heat up 30 degrees celsius above the outside air temperature.  The snow on the ground actually provides added reflection and improves the efficiency of the panel. 

Fact: The cool weather in Northeast Ohio does play into the efficiency of the panels, however, it is positive. This is because electricity is inherently less efficient at higher temperature.

How much do they cost?

Depending on what you are trying to power- the systems size and cost will vary. 

  1. The average home in Ohio uses 11,000 kWh per year. To offset this, Bold Alternatives recommends a 5 kW system which costs $20,000 turn key price (installation which is included may or may not cost more due to roof type). By investing in renewable energy you will receive a 30% tax credit, sRECs, and eliminate a portion of your electric bill. 
  2. For a small commercial or non- profit company, Bold Alternatives recommends a 50 kW system        which costs $175,000. You will also receive 30% depreciation in addition to the 30% tax credit, sRECs, and electricity savings by having your company invest in renewable energy (see below for more details). 

Are there different ways to pay for a system?

Yes!  There are four ways to pay for a PV solar system. Depending if your site is residential, commercial, or nonprofit, funding may differ.  

Aside from the different ways to pay for a system, we encourage all prospective customers to keep in mind that there are government incentives for investing in green technology. For example:

​For a small commercial building, Bold Alternatives recommends a 50 kW system which would cost roughly $175,000. There is a federal tax credit which eliminates $52,500 form the system cost and a $67,000 tax benefit of bonus depreciation. With all these tax benefits the total cost for a $175,000 system would only be $55,500. 

How does net metering work? When customer with installed PV systems produce more electricity than their building requires, their electricity will flow back into the grid and their electricity meter will "spin backwards"- reducing the amount owed to the electric company for that month. Furthermore, on sunny days when the demand of electricity is high, the PV system on your building will also be producing near its maximum rate. During these high demand periods, power utilities are required to operate their most expensive peaking units that costs them 36-45 c per kWh. Interconnected PV systems will reduce the load on an already stressed grid, which then reduced the amount of peak demand hours and lowers the cost of electricity. Solar throughout the region will reduce the need for the usage of the peak generating systems, saving all ratepayers in the region from the most expensive electricity. 

​Do I need a battery?

​Depending on the customers goals a battery may or may not be required for the system. In most residential and commercial systems, Bold Alternatives simply recommends a grid tied system with no battery. For customers who desire energy when the gird is not available (remote locations or power outages) we recommend a battery for your system. Instead of the electricity that the array produces going directly into your home, it will go into a battery which you can then decide what to do with.

How long until I receive my return on investment?

Again, depending on the size of your system and how you choose to fund it, the ROI fluctuates. For the typical home that is funded through cash payment, the ROI is typically 5-7 years and a commercial system is typically 6-7 years. 

How do nonprofits afford solar PV systems?

Nonprofits can be funded through a Power Purchase Agreement which involves a third party. Bold Alternatives works with third parties that specialize in this agreement such as Solar Action LLC. In a Power Purchase Agreement, Solar Action would install and own the system on the nonprofit's property, meaning the nonprofit would have little to no out of pocket cost for the system. Solar Action LLC would then sell all the electricity back to the nonprofit that they are in agreement with at a fixed discounted rate. This agreement would continue for around 11-15 years, after which the nonprofit would come to own the system fully. 

 How do I get started?

It is great that you are thinking about investing in solar technology! Take a look at our 5 Step Process, and if this is something that you are still interested in, Contact us!