Columbus Community Solar Initiative




Calling themselves “Solar Ambassadors”, local households are going solar with roof-top solar photovoltaic panels and inverters.  They intend to save money on their electric bills and reduce their carbon footprints. They also hope their experience will spark interest among their neighbors, leading to more adoption of clean energy in the community.

The program is called the Columbus Community Solar Initiative (CCSI) and its goal is to see 1,000 panels installed in the City of Columbus and nearby counties.

Click here to see our latest status report.

By joining together into a purchasing bloc, these households are collectively leveraging their buying clout to bring down the cost of their solar arrays. CCSI screened many vendors on criteria such as price, quality control, equipment, track record, and more. After selecting five solar contractors, CCSI held a competitive bidding process for the collective volume of the purchasing bloc. The households contract directly with the solar vendor but enjoy the competitive pricing leveraged by the entire CCSI purchasing bloc.

The winning solar contractor is Third-Sun Solar. Third Sun Solar is a full service clean energy company serving homeowners, businesses, institutions and government entities across the Midwest. Third-Sun is a licensed electrical and general contractor that has installed more than ThirdSun Logo600 projects and 10,000 kWs of solar energy systems in 12 states since our start in 2000. The firm is a woman-owned, certified B-Corporation with the mission to accelerate the shift to clean energy. Its team of solar consultants, designers, financing experts and NABCEP-certified installers work to make solar easy as they deliver high performance and long lasting solar solutions using their optimized design process.

CCSI is a joint program of the local Winding Waters chapter of the Sierra Club and the Energy Matters Community Coalition which seek to promote smart, clean energy choices. The solar initiative follows a model used in other communities across the nation to spur solar adoption.

The homeowners are expecting to reduce their electric bills by 75 – 90%, achieve a simple payback in around 12-15 years, and earn a 7 percent, or so, return on investment over the 25 year warrantied life of the panels. They look at it as a capital investment in their homes. Some will finance it with a second mortgage: savings on utility bills will cover the mortgage payments and, once the loan is paid off, the utility savings are free and clear. All will take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit and participate in selling their “credits” in renewable energy markets.

CCSI and its Solar Ambassadors arer making solar power commonplace in our community.


IF you are CURIOSLY INTERESTED and want to know more: 

  1. Read the documentation (links below)
  2. Reach out to the CCSI volunteer CONTACTS, (also below) to discuss your interest and any concerns.

IF you are CALCULATINGLY COMMITTED and have a firm intention to go solar:

  1. Read and sign and return the non-binding Letter of Intent.
  2. We will get back with you promptly.

Please see the following project materials:

CCSI – How The Process Works

Pricing Schedule

A Simplified Financial Example

Am I a Candidate for Residential Solar?

Third-Sun Solarize Columbus Indiana_Draft 1

All Interested in the Columbus Community Solar Initiative Round 2

Letter of Intent to Participate in Columbus Community Solar Initiative Round 4




        Coverage by WTIU


Michael A. Mullett,  (812) 376-0734,

Barry S. Kastner, (812) 344-8825,

CCSI Mailbox:

Also, follow the news on the CCSI Facebook page.