Old Fields (WVDN) – Solar Holler has installed nearly 1,400 solar panels at a poultry farm in Hardy County. The solar system will provide the farm with a whopping 941,371 kWh of energy per year, making it the largest in all of West Virginia. Oak Tree Farm, which raises broiler chickens, is the host of this historic project made possible by the collaborative efforts of Solar Holler, Davis Hill Development, Skyview Ventures and West Virginia Poultry Partners.
“We are thrilled to have reached our latest milestone, building and turning on the largest solar system in West Virginia history.” said Dan Conant, founder and CEO of Solar Holler. “Our partnership with West Virginia Poultry Partners and Skyview Ventures will provide more than 99% of the electricity needed at Oak Tree Farm, while helping to feed thousands of families every year.”
Projects like this would not have been permitted in West Virginia just a couple years ago. Recently passed legislation legalized Power Purchase Agreements — an arrangement that allows companies like Solar Holler to own and operate a solar system while the other party enjoys the benefits of low-cost fixed utility rates and clean energy. With no upfront cost, it’s easy for companies like Oak Tree Farm to transition to renewable energy sources.
“This project is exactly what the future of solar in the United States should be. Solar Holler is a Benefit Corporation that is training workers for West Virginia’s future energy industry, while installing locally manufactured racking and modules whenever possible,” said Andy Karetsky, president of Skyview Ventures.
Solar Holler’s expert modeling and design work is backed with a production guarantee that translates to a 10% reduction in the cost of electricity for Oak Tree Farm. Ultimately, the system will allow for expanded operations at the farm, which means hiring more West Virginians and bringing more food production back to the state.
Robert Williams of West Virignia Poultry Partners posed the question,” We have to get electricity from somewhere — where do you want it to come from? Solar just seems like such a great option for us, as a country, as a world. We should harvest as much of the sun as possible. It’s there, it’s free, and it’s not depleting any resources that are already here.”
For the past decade, Solar Holler has continuously upped the ante, building the industry from scratch here in Appalachia. Not only are they making solar the lowest cost source of electricity in the region, they’re also contributing to strong local economies with a unionized labor force.
“Throughout this project, Solar Holler brought together the engineering expertise, the most accurate sunlight modeling team in the country, talented union electricians, and financing expertise to make the project happen — and that’s exactly what we’ll do for the hundreds of other companies we’re working with this year,” said Conant.
According to Micah Brill who oversaw the project for Davis Hill Development, “The Solar Holler team was outstanding to work with and we look forward to working with them again and again.”
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