Clean Power

Published on August 2nd, 2015 | by James Ayre

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Solar Co-Ops Becoming More Common In West Virginia

August 2nd, 2015 by  

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.”

West Virginia flag

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.

Image Credit: Public Domain


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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • LafayetteCoboll

    So a solar co-op is essentially a group purchase of solar panels for their roofs?

    • IsaacLHawk

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    • Jason Willhite

      That’s how I understand it. We have a solar co-op here in Arkansas, since PPAs are illegal. Every member of the co-op placed an order, and we were able to order items by the pallet and the labor was, I believe, much cheaper. I paid $2.99 per watt for our 6.12 kw system, before tax incentives. With tax incentives, we paid $2.16 per watt. Not too shabby for a state that gets an ‘F’ on renewable energy incentives and legislation.

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