We’ve reached a big milestone, y’all. This summer marks our tenth year of installing solar in Central Appalachia. It’s hard to believe this journey started in 2013 with just a few of us in a room, but it’s incredibly gratifying to look back on the amazing things we’ve accomplished in the years since.
We recently joined our friends at Lifeline Church in Princeton, the heart of coal country, to commemorate the occasion. It’s a milestone for Solar Holler, of course, and we couldn’t be prouder– but it’s also a momentous achievement for clean energy in Appalachia. Here’s a quick look at how it went.
As with most birthdays or milestone events, we’ve been reflecting on the past decade of beautiful moments in our journey and we’re all a bit nostalgic. Recalling things like: developing topographical modeling (the thing that makes our designs so dang accurate, even in the mountains), growing our staff from 3 to more 110 employees, celebrating our 1000th installation, and becoming West Virginia’s number one Solar Installer. It’s certainly been a wild ride.
And good news, the Solar movement in Central Appalachia is alive and well. As we celebrate our 10th revolution around the sun, it feels like we’re experiencing a clean energy revolution too! The Inflation Reduction Act that passed congress last year invests nearly $370 billion in US manufacturing and, for the first time, expands solar tax benefits to include nonprofit organizations – bringing nonprofits on equal footing with their for profit counterparts. Other policy changes have made solar leasing available in West Virginia, which makes clean energy accessible to low income families for the first time ever. All said, solar is attainable for more Appalachians than ever before!
Solar Holler Founder and CEO, Dan Conant, said it best, “Over the past 10 years, we proved to the world that solar was exactly what the people of West Virginia wanted. We proved that solar is done best when you don’t turn your back on the labor movement, and when you support American manufacturing. We built the first virtual power plant in America, and in telling that story, we swung the one vote that mattered for the biggest climate bill in world history. Because of that work and that bill, solar is now the cheapest source of power for nearly every nonprofit, school, municipality, utility, and homeowner in America. And because of that bill we’re now in the midst of a Reindustrial Revolution in the Heartland. No other solar installation company can claim anything close to the impact we’ve had in the wider world.”
Conant went on to say, “I’m incredibly proud of my amazing colleagues and grateful to our loyal customers, like Lifeline Church, for their trust and unrivaled support.”
Since our first ever solar installation sits atop the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, it felt fitting to commemorate our tenth birthday with customers and staff at Lifeline Church where we recently broke another record by completing West Virginia’s largest solar installation on a nonprofit. The array on Lifeline Church includes 1078 panels that are projected to produce 537,318 kWh of clean energy each year – saving the church $5,586 in utility costs each month. That’s almost $1.7 million over the next 25 years that Lifeline can direct away from electric costs and toward the good work they’re doing in their community.
“The completion of the Lifeline Church Solar Project marks not only a significant milestone for our congregation but also for our community.” Said Pastor J.B Hurt of Lifeline Church. “Solar Holler’s dedication to creating sustainable energy solutions is a testament to their commitment to both environmental stewardship and the financial well-being of local communities. This project has not only lowered our energy costs but also serves as an example of how faith institutions can lead the way towards a greener and more responsible future.”
We are so thankful to have reached this milestone, and grateful that we got to share it with Lifeline Church and our extended solar network of customers, employees and supporters. We wouldn’t be here without you!
Here’s to the next 10 years!