Ohio renewable energy and energy efficiency

The state of Ohio offers a variety of renewable energy and energy efficiency programs across a wide range of technology types. Programs are available for residential, commercial, and utility-scale customers.

A history of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Ohio

In 1999, Ohio passed legislation that restructured its electric industry. As a part of that restructuring, Ohio's original net metering law was passed. At first, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) required that utilities credit net excess generation to customers at the utility's full retail rate. In 2002, this exchange was declared illegal by the Ohio Supreme Court and the requirement changed to the utility's unbundled generation rate. PUCO further amended its rules in 2007, and in 2008, S.B. 221 further amended those rules by placing a limit on net metering whenever the total rated generating capacity used by customer-generators is less than one percent of the provider's aggregate customer peak demand in Ohio. In November of 2017, PUCO created new amendments to the state's net metering rules. These new rules, among other things, set a maximum system size limit at 120% of a customer's average yearly usage.1

Ohio's Renewable Portfolio Standard

In May of 2008, the state of Ohio enacted broad legislation aimed at restructuring the electric industry (S.B. 221). As a part of this legislation, Ohio created the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS). The AEPS applies to all retail electricity providers except for cooperatives and municipal utilities. The AEPS requires 25% of the state's annual energy supply to come from alternative energy sources, with half of that (12.5%) coming specifically from renewables. The AEPS also includes a solar carve-out which sets a solar target of 0.5% of the state's electricity supply by 2026. S.B. 221 also required utilities to implement peak demand reduction and energy efficiency programs that save 22% by the end of 2025 and reduce peak demand by 1% in 2009 and 0.75% for every year beyond that through 2018. In 2014, the Ohio state legislature passed S.B. 310, and in doing so became the first state to freeze its renewable portfolio standard. The AEPS remained frozen until the beginning of 2017, when it resumed its original schedule again.2 The AEPS was scaled back by new legislation passed in 2019.3

Important renewable energy organizations in Ohio

One important organization in advancing the future of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the state of Ohio is the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). PUCO was initially founded in 1911 by the state legislature to address public concerns outside the field of railroads (a railroad commission already existed at the time). Originally, PUCO had jurisdiction over gas, electric telephone, and water companies. Over time, PUCO's jurisdiction would expand to buses, transportation of property, and wastewater. PUCO is led by five commissioners on rotating, five-year terms. A seat becomes open every year and any Ohioan who is not employed by and has no financial interest in any particular utility can apply for the position. A PUCO nominating council sends a list of names to the governor, who then appoints the new commissioner. PUCO works to ensure that safe, reliable, adequate, and affordable utility services are available to all residents and businesses, and its actions affect nearly every household in the state.

Another important organization in Ohio is PJM Interconnection Association. PJM is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that serves customers in fifteen states as well as the District of Columbia. PJM originally began in 1927 when three utilities formed the first continuing power pool in the world. Additional utilities would join that pool in 1956, 1965, and 1981. In 1997, PJM became fully independent and membership was extended to non-utilities. During that year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved PJM as the first fully functional independent system operator in the United States. Later, in 2002, PJM became the first fully functioning RTO in the nation. PJM is lead by an independent board of ten members who must abide by a strict code of conduct in order to ensure their neutrality. The primary task of PJM is to ensure that the bulk electric power system is secure, safe, and reliable.

Utilities are also major players in advancing the future of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Ohio. The state has two major Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs). These are Duke Energy Ohio and Dayton Power and Light Company. Additionally, the state has one major electric cooperative, South Central Power Company, as well as several smaller cooperatives. There are also many municipal utilities in the state of Ohio, the largest being the City of Cleveland.


  1. DSIRE. “Net Metering.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  2. DSIRE. “Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  3. The Ohio Legislature. “House Bill 6 (2019).” Accessed October 28, 2020.

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