Ohio is putting boots on the ground for solar to gain a foothold in the energy profile of the country. As Stateline points out, even a Republican candidate for governor had to back off his stated intention to eliminate Ohio's renewable energy portfolio standard. In Ohio, which relies on coal for 90% of its power, this stand was not tenable. The article points out that the landscape for solar is changing and the "impact is visible across Ohio." The article points out that farmers, homeowners and small companies have installed solar panels. And large scale solar projects, including a 12-megawatt solar field in northern Ohio, is being installed and a 50-megawatt field is planned in the southeast part of the state.
Solar panels are not found just on the roofs of Ohio's businesses and homes. As an article in the News Herald points out, if you have a recreational vehicle, solar is a good alternative to generate the power you will need on the road. The article highlights the business of a "television news reporter-turned-activist, spokesman and educator," who is at a show promoting his green RV. "The idea of an environmentally friendly RV may seem like an oxymoron, but Brian Brawdy is making it his business to dispel such talk," reports the newspaper. The Green RV is powered by a V-8 diesel engine, 11 solar panels and three wind turbines, but doesn't "skimp on comfort and interior amenities." The newspaper reports that "Brawdy is committed to dispelling the misconception that the typical RVer is driving a gas guzzler or doesn't care about the environment."
Ohio is also gaining from creating new alternative energy jobs.The Columbus Dispatch reports on a study showing that 169 Ohio businesses are making materials used to produce solar or wind energy. The article points out that although Ohio is creating renewable energy jobs, it is a laggard when it comes actually producing solar or wind energy. "For now, wind and solar manufacturers have a much greater presence in Ohio than actual wind- and solar-energy production. The largest solar installation opened last year in Wyandot County, providing a capacity of 12 megawatts."
And there are other clouds looming on the horizon for Ohio's push towards diversifying its energy portfolio. Ohio pulled the rug out from under this momentum to go solar. According to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council:
Due to unprecedented demand for funding from the Ohio's Advanced Energy Fund, the state's public benefits fund, all funding opportunities have been suspended as of November 5, 2010, in order to allow the Ohio Department of Development to process applications that were previously submitted. With the Advanced Energy Fund scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, future funding opportunities for renewables remain uncertain.
This year should tell the story of whether Ohio will continue on the road to solar, or whether all of the activity in solar in Ohio was simply a one-time blip on the solar radar screen.