HUNTINGTON — Nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors (SUN) announced Tuesday the selection of Huntington-based Solar Holler to serve members of the Southeast West Virginia Solar Co-op.
SUN said in a news release that co-op members are working together to install solar on their homes and the group is accepting new members through March 31. The co-op is free to join and open to homeowners and business owners in Fayette, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers and southern Pocahontas counties.
“If you’ve ever thought about going solar, now’s your chance,” Autumn Long, West Virginia program director for SUN, said in the release. “We’re excited to be back and be working alongside a strong slate of local partner organizations, businesses and elected officials. We look forward to educating more West Virginians about the benefits of solar and helping them go solar on their homes, businesses and institutions.”
Individuals interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op at the co-op web page at www.solarunitedneighbors.org/southeastWV.
Long added that co-op members have leveraged their numbers to secure a bulk rate for their individual solar installations.
Dan Conant, founder and CEO of Solar Holler, said he is thrilled to be working with SUN on their Southeast West Virginia Solar Co-op.
“At Solar Holler, we relentlessly pursue innovative approaches to make solar affordable for every household in central Appalachia,” Conant said. “Nothing like a group discount to deliver strong solar savings.”
Co-op members chose Solar Holler through a competitive bidding process facilitated by SUN.
Joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar, according to the release. It said members will have the option to individually purchase panels based on the installer’s group rate.
Partnering on the co-op are the City of Smithers and the Town of Fayetteville as well as Bethlehem Farm, Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, Lewisburg Green Team, New Roots Community Farm, Scion Designs, Secret Sandwich Society, Sierra Club West Virginia Chapter, Waterstone Outdoors, West Virginia Environmental Council, West Virginia League of Women Voters and West Virginia Rivers Coalition.
SUN has hosted 22 solar co-ops in West Virginia since 2014. According to the group’s estimates, the 161 West Virginia homes and businesses that now have solar panels through its co-ops represent 1.2 megawatts of solar power, $3.2 million invested in the local economy and more than 42 million pounds of lifetime carbon offsets.
In 2018, Solar Holler completed a solar panel project in Huntington at Harmony House. The company installed 115 solar panels, which Harmony House officials called “a game-changing project” for the nonprofit organization that helps the homeless because it estimated the organization would save as much as $130,000 in electricity costs over 25 years.
In 2019, Solar Holler also did the largest nonprofit solar installation in West Virginia with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore project in Huntington.
The Habitat for Humanity of the Tri-State had 185 solar panels that generate 53.65 kilowatts of power installed. More panels were installed on the ReStore and administrative offices in the 200 block of 3rd Avenue. It was estimated the organization would save over $150,000 over the next 25 years.