Solar and wind technologies could be coming to a home near you, thanks to a boost from the state.
The Ohio Energy Office wants to entice developers to include those efficient energy-generation methods in single- and multifamily homes by offering $3.5 million in grants for solar hot-water systems and wind turbines.
The goal is to have about 200 solar thermal systems and 266 small wind turbines for residential use in the state in the next two years.
The solar program would pay for half the costs of installing solar hot-water systems on affordable multifamily housing projects. The systems can be used for new and existing buildings that otherwise would use electricity to heat water. A total of $2 million is available for the projects in this latest round of funding.
The system usually is mounted on a roof, where it absorbs energy from the sun and converts it to heat.
"For most of the time, it's sufficient to heat water," said Sherry Hubbard, chief of the Ohio Energy Office. "You would perhaps have a backup heater for the very coldest of days."
The systems are a money-saver, she said.
"By installing these solar hot-water systems, those projects would reduce the ongoing cost of paying for hot water," Hubbard said.
There is a total of $1.5 million available in grants for wind technologies. The grant will provide $2 per kilowatt-hour of annual output, up to $25,000, or 50 percent of project costs for small residential wind projects.
The grants typically are for small wind turbines about 10 kilowatts, which can provide electricity for a home for about nine months in a year, Hubbard said.
The wind tends to subside during the summer in Ohio, so any grant applicant must have a system that connects to the power grid.
At times when the wind generates more energy than the household needs, the excess energy flows back to the grid and the user earns credits, Hubbard said.
The programs are available in areas with investor-owned utilities such as American Electric Power and Dayton Power & Light.
In the past, such grants have been awarded for 17 solar thermal systems and 30 wind turbines. They're available on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the state.
Information about the programs can be found at http://www.odod.state.oh.us/cdd/oee/ELFGrant.htm