An effort to encourage Columbus residents to use solar energy as a residential power source is resulting in the installation of five new systems this month.

Combined, 136 solar panels capable of generating 36 kilowatts of electricity are being installed. The number of panels on each home ranges from 14 on one to 38 on another. The other three installations are planned to have 28 solar panels each.

The Columbus Community Solar Initiative sponsored a public information session in June to encourage local residents to consider installing solar panels as a way of pursuing clean-energy options.

The initiative now has 15 homeowners and one church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Columbus’ west side, at one of the stages in a six-step process that begins with an intention to install solar panels to the actual installation.

Working with Third Sun Solar of Athens, Ohio, residents go through an application process that includes evaluating whether the home or business receives enough sun to allow panels to generate energy and how much in federal tax credits could be realized by installing a solar system.

Each applicant receives an individual proposal, but installation is a group project with a single installer, which helps participants shave off as much as 20 percent of the cost.

This month’s installation will represent about 13 percent of the initiative’s goal of 1,000 panels and 270 kilowatts of capacity that it hopes to meet by the end of this year.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.