Mid-Ohio Valley residents form solar energy co-op

Meeting to be held 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

PARKERSBURG — A solar energy co-op is expanding into the Mid-Ohio Valley, officials said.

WV SUN, or West Virginia Solar United Neighborhoods, and OH SUN were created to save money, make going solar easier and build a network of solar supporters. Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action, the West Virginia University-Parkersburg Ecohawks, the Wood County League of Women Voters, OH SUN and WV SUN are the co-op sponsors.

The group is seeking members and will hold an information meeting 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the theater at WVU-Parkersburg.

“We are excited to take part in establishing a Mid-Ohio Valley solar co-op,” said Eric Engle of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action.

“People of all ideologies, political parties, backgrounds, and walks of life realize that the future is in renewable energy, and that solar energy is good for their pocketbooks.”

WV SUN has been active in other parts of West Virginia, spokesman Ben Delman said. It has been active in Huntington, Charleston, Morgantown and the Eastern Panhandle he said.

“This is the first time we are meeting in the Parkersburg area,” Delman said.

The groups expand access to solar by educating residents about the benefits of distributed solar energy, help organize group solar installations and strengthening West Virginia’s and Ohio’s solar policies and communities of solar supporters. WV SUN and OH SUN have helped more than a dozen communities across these states develop solar co-ops.

“I am excited to work with Mid-Ohio Valley residents to educate them about the benefits of solar energy,” said Autumn Long, WV SUN Solar Co-op coordinator. “The co-op is a great opportunity to demonstrate how solar energy can help our communities be more self-sufficient.”

Residents interested in joining the co-op can register at the WV SUN co-op website, wvsun.org/, and joining is not a commitment to purchase panels. When the group is large enough, WV SUN and OH SUN will help the co-op solicit competitive bids from solar installers.

Co-op members will select a company to complete installations and will have the option to purchase panels individually based on the installer’s group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, participants can save up to 20 percent off the cost of a system, the co-op said.

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