Over recent years, West Virginia has slowly become home to a growing number of solar energy co-ops. One of the state’s more notable cities, Charleston, is now gearing up to become home to one as well, giving residents in the area an easier and simpler way to go solar.
Commenting on the first meeting of Charleston’s solar co-op, a community + economic development specialist with West Virginia State University extension services, Sarah Halstead, stated: “I thought it was just time to talk about a solar co-op.”
As noted by the communications manager for Community Power Network (umbrella organization for WV Sun), Ben Delman, the creation of a solar co-op will give members an easier path to going solar — as system costs can be as much as 20% lower via such an approach.
The Charleston group is reportedly aiming to get commitments from roughly 25–30 members interested in installing solar energy systems before proceeding further. Following that, bids will then reviewed and proposals will be selected.
“We’ve been blown away by the number of people that are interested in solar,” Delman noted. “People want to go solar and are really motivated to help organize solar co-ops in their community.”
The group involved in the process in Charleston, WV Sun, has previously aided the formation of solar co-ops in Monroe and Fayetteville counties — as well as having gotten the ball rolling in Morgantown and Wheeling.
Altogether, since 2007, the umbrella company Community Power Network has launched a total of more than 30 solar energy co-ops throughout West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.
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