Dollars and energy image

West Virginia has a long history of producing energy.

Conant: “Even before coal there was charcoal and more recently there’s been Marcellus Shale with natural gas. And renewables are just a natural extension of that for a place that already knows the energy industry.”

That’s Dan Conant, the founder of Solar Holler, a West Virginia-based start-up. The company helps nonprofits reap the benefits of clean energy by helping them install solar panels.

But there are hurdles. Power purchase agreements, which are often used to fund solar projects, are illegal in West Virginia. And nonprofits do not pay taxes, so tax breaks are no help.

Conant: “We have to get really creative with how we approach financing and developing these projects.”

And to help nonprofits rely even less on fossil fuels, Solar Holler installs energy efficient L-E-D lighting. That saves electricity and money.

Every dollar a nonprofit doesn't have to spend on energy bills means another dollar for their programs. Click To Tweet

Conant: “Every dollar a homeless shelter or a church or library doesn’t have to spend on energy bills means another dollar that they can put toward their programs.”

So far Solar Holler has completed nine projects. But its early success proves that – even in coal country – people are embracing the clean energy revolution.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

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