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Solar PV:

The solar array at the OHIO Ecohouse was installed by Dovetail Solar & Wind and is a 2.4 kilo-watt system. It is a grid-tied photovoltaic array; which means that the energy generated goes back to the energy company.  This array provides the equivalent of approximately 40% of the energy for the house, depending on behaviors of current residents and seasonal changes.


The cost of the array was $20,000 after rebates provided by the state of Ohio. There is a subsidy for alternative energy installations that applies to PV, wind, and solar thermal. Many are surprised to learn that the efficiency rates are quite low for PV, approximately 12%. There are constraints with PV cells associated with losses from transmission and issues with climate.


The Solar PV is located immediately east of the Ecohouse Community Garden.



Solar Thermal:

The solar thermal system at the OHIO Ecohouse was installed by Third Sun Solar and Wind Power (  These systems typically range from $4,000-$7,000. This specific panel cost  $4,000. The system works by utilizing the heat from the sun to heat a glycol solution that is running through the pipes that are visible in the panel. It is then pumped back into the house to heat the water.  An efficient water heater is also available in the basement of the home to complete heating the water to the desired temperature, if needed.  The payback period on a system such as this is only 5-7 years.


Solar Thermal system at OHIO Ecohouse


Solar Powered Clothes Dryer:

During warm weather, laundry can be dried using the solar dryer – otherwise known as a clothesline - located at the rear of the house.


Installing a clothesline is one of the cheapest and most impactful sustainable lifestyle behaviors at the Ecohouse.



During the Ecohouse tour, participants talk with the tour guide about some of the following issues:
What are the advantages of a grid tied system?
Why bother with solar?
Where does our energy come from?
When are solar panels the most efficient, in the summer or winter?
What is the difference between solar electric and solar thermal?
What is more efficient: solar electric or solar thermal?  Why?
What are some of the problems commonly associated with solar power?
Why do people invest in solar when purchasing from the electric company is so convenient?
What do you notice about this array that may be unique?
Why does a Solar Thermal system need a glycol solution running through the pipes instead of water?