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Solar Holler installs largest nonprofit installation to-date at Scarborough Library

By Staff | Aug 23, 2019

From left, Commercial Project Manager Brandon Nicolosi, installer Shane Love and installer Colton Mammett stand on Scarborough Library's roof, beside its completed solar installation. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Solar Holler recently completed its largest nonprofit solar panel installation at Scarborough Library.

The installation, which is the size of six home installations, has also set a new state record, according to Solar Holler owner and founder Dan Conant.

“In the last year, we’ve hopscotched our own records five times – we’ve broken our own records for the record for the largest nonprofit solar installation in the state,” Conant said. “From the very beginning, our focus at Solar Holler and the reason I started Solar Holler was to help make solar possible for people who would otherwise be left out. Our very first project was Shepherdstown Presbyterian. We’ve done a lot with homeless shelters. Even though these projects are harder, we focus so much on nonprofits so we can amplify the impact we’re making.

“We’re a Shepherdstown company, and it’s Shepherd University and we specialize in working with nonprofits, so it was a great fit,” Conant said. “From our perspective at Solar Holler, it’s exciting to be working at Shepherd with our neighbors in town. From the very start, we were really excited to develop an actual connection.”

The installation, which was started in July, is now saving Shepherd University a significant amount of money on its electricity bills, according to Commercial Project Manager Brandon Nicolosi.

“The installation is estimated to save approximately $3,449 in year one,” Nicolosi said. “Historical electricity inflation rates cause the annual savings to slightly increase from one year to the next. Over the course of 25 years, it’s due to generate a total of $121,610 with inflation. Solar arrays can last much longer than 25 years, however, and will be providing utility savings beyond this point as well.”

As a proud Shepherd University graduation, Nicolosi jumped at the chance to lead the project, and said he is excited to see Shepherd University making an effort to help the environment.

“It is our hope that this project, along with the ground mount at Tabler Farm, are the first of many solar energy initiatives taken at Shepherd University,” Nicolosi said, mentioning the project was funded by the EBSCO Solar annual grant program.

According to Nicolosi, Solar Holler won Scarborough Library’s public bid for the project at the beginning of Nov. 2018, and spent the following months planning out each detail of the installation.

“Ever since then, we worked on the procurement of items for the installation, on technical evaluations of the sight and with Shepherd University’s electricians, our own electricians and facility staff – there was a large amount of planning involved,” Nicolosi said.

As the Shepherdstown-based business continues to make a difference throughout the region with its solar installations, Conant said he is also working to protect the livelihoods of nonrenewable energy source workers across the state.

“One thing we focus on at Solar Holler, is not just helping nonprofits afford clean energy, but to build clean energy throughout the state,” Conant said. “We’ve done a lot of work to train solar installers in the south of the state, to help them transition from a coal economy to a clean energy economy.

“Our hope with this, is that West Virginia will continue to be the source of energy power in the country,” Conant said. “All together, we’ve had about 50 folks come through our training. We’re continually bringing new folks on and training them, to build more and more solar across the state.”

To learn more, visit www.solarholler.com.