Solar Holler keeps hollering
The local nonprofit Solar Holler is continuing its mission to make solar energy a possibility for communities across West Virginia.
This Saturday, Solar Holler will celebrate the successful installation of a panel system on the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Pubic Library.
Library director, Gretchen Fry expressed her enthusiasm about the project and its completion.
“We’re very excited,” she said.
“It was very inspiring that the community pulled together,” she said.
Fry said the ribbon cutting and open house Saturday will be an opportunity for members of the public to tour the library, view the panels and learn more about solar production through the presentation of a web tracker following the project.
Shepherdstown resident Dan Conant, founder of Solar Holler, said part of the organization’s goal in choosing the library as its second site was to establish a solar education tool for the families and children who patronize the library each day.
“It’s a wonderful program for the library,” Fry said.
“I think it’s really important that folks are able to see solar working,” Conant said.
Conant said the second Solar Holler project ran smoothly and quickly. He described being amazed by the amount of public interest and support the project has found.
“There’s a lot of community support for the library,” he said.
The second project used the same model as the first. Local volunteers agreed to let Mosaic Power install monitors on their water heaters, which enable savings for the power company by better regulating use and output on the power grid.
“We ended up having 55 families across Jefferson County,” Conant said.
The library’s system was installed in January and went live in March after a short recruitment effort.
Energy Efficiency efforts for the library will continue as part of the Solar Holler project. The twelve newly installed panels make up about 5 percent of the library’s current electric bill.
“We’re going to continue making other energy improvements around the library,” Conant said.
Community member and volunteer Chris Craig is a member of the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Sustainability group and site selection committee for Solar Holler.
Craig said the group will look for improvements like new lighting and better insulation of windows and doors. which will increase savings for the library even more.
“It could be pretty substantial savings.” he said.
Conant said the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church’s system is still operating without issue
“It’s been going strong,” he said.
Though no specific follow up site can be announced, Conant said the organization plans to continue new projects throughout the Eastern Panhandle and across the state.
“Our mission is to help all West Virginians,” he said.
For more information about Solar Holler, visit their web site at www.solarholler.com/.
The Bolivar Harpers Ferry Library reception will be held at 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 18.