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Cincinnati's solar plan re-energized in 2014

Plans for more solar on city building rooftops in Cincinnati are looking up this year.

Director of the Office of Environment and Sustainability Larry Falkin says the city laid low in 2013 because the value of renewable energy credits was down and some state programs expired. "We think we're back in a situation where the economics work now and we have projects that we're working on and we hope to be able to announce them in the near future."

Falkin says the announcement could come in the next two to three months.

In 2012 the city installed solar panels on:

  1. The Beekman Street Garage
  2. Business Development and Permit Center
  3. College Hill Recreation Center

In the College Hill case  WVXU reported an alternative energy group paid for them. The city will benefit by buying electricity at a lower cost.

Falkin says Cincinnati doubled its solar energy generating capacity in 2010, going from about 500 kW to 1mW. He says the city's solar panels reduce Cincinnati's carbon footprint by about 1,000 tons per year.

Private companies using solar

Market research company Burke, Inc. installed a 350 kW solar canopy over their 7th Streeet parking lot. It does a couple of things including providing shade to employees and supplying 30% of the electrical needs for the company.

Other Cincinnati companies have installed solar on a smaller scale.

The sky's the limit

  • Environment Ohio wants Cincinnati to get 10% of its energy from solar by 2030
  • Cincinnati has a goal of doubling its energy from solar (on government  buildings) every year from now until 2020
  • Green Umbrella would like 1 in 5 rooftops in Cincinnati to have solar by 2028 (including residences, businesses and government buildings)

Solar is on the rise in Ohio and nationally. A new report by the Solar Foundation ranks Ohio 8th for solar jobs in 2013.