Coal or Solar? Let's Go Solar!

Aug 12, 2017

Coal River Mountain Watch is planning to have solar panels installed on the roof of the Judy Bonds Center for Appalachian Preservation, enough to provide all our electrical needs and then some. We’ll be grid-tied, so we’ll have power at night and cloudy days and also feed excess back into the grid when we produce more than we use. The system will be ready for a battery backup to be installed later, so then we’ll still have power when the lines go down. This will not only eliminate our electric bill and coal use for electricity, but it will make the Judy Bonds Center a valuable community resource in times of emergency and disaster. Solar Holler’s outreach director came to take a look Monday to assess the building and electrical hookups. We’re blessed with ideal solar exposure. This would be clean solar energy replacing our current coal-fired average annual usage of 9,409 kilowatt hours and $85 per month electric bill. That’s $85 per month NOT going to a coal-fired utility. That’s over 10,200 pounds of coal kept in the ground per year. That’s over 20,300 pounds of CO2 kept out of the atmosphere per year. That's your climate and the climate all our descendants will inherit.              So how can you help make this bright, shining dream come true?

First, to be most effective, we need to finish our efficiency upgrade. We’ve replaced our old office lighting with brighter, quieter, and more efficient LED fixtures, but the upstairs has yet to be done. We still need to raise $786 on our lighting fundraiser to finish the job. Please consider chipping in here to take that step.

Then it’s the big step of paying for this landmark endeavor. Solar Holler is helping us examine some creative funding solutions, but we’d rather not be in debt for 15 years. We’re applying for grants to cover the cost up front, but there’s no guarantee we’ll get approved, and we’d like to get the system installed before the winter storms. If you’re looking for a good place to put $20,000 (or $18,531, to be more exact), we have a perfect sunny spot on our roof. If you have $200 and 99 friends, that would work too. Or $100 and 199 friends. Or $25 and 799 friends. Or $10 and 1,999 friends. “But I don’t have that many friends!” How many friends does Facebook say you have? Invite them all to chip in here!

What it boils down to is that each $10 put into this project now keeps 10 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere and keeps 5 pounds of coal in the ground per year for the foreseeable future.

And if you live in Naoma, or know someone who does, contact us to look into getting your home or business powered by the sun with panels on our roof. The best time is now while tax incentives are still in place.

Wow. We’re excited.