Inside Appalachian Voices

Southwest Virginia Sunshine

Date: June 13, 2017

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On May 9, Appalachian Voices was proud to co-host the Southwest Virginia Solar Fair. Together with our partners in the Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia, we brought community members and industry leaders together to highlight how a clean energy future could also bring jobs to our region.

Our Southwest Virginia Solar VISTA Lydia Graves rallies the crowd at the Solar Fair.

Our Southwest Virginia Solar VISTA Lydia Graves rallies the crowd at the Solar Fair.


Attendees enjoyed hands-on demonstrations of solar projects, fresh asparagus and popcorn cooked by the sun, and live music courtesy of the Empty Bottle String Band.

The day also saw the launch of Solarize Wise, a program to help make solar installations easier and more affordable for homeowners, businesses and farmers in Wise County.

Appalachian Voices also awarded two $500 grants to local high school teams who developed Solar in Your School project proposals. The Eastside High School Ecology Club from Coeburn, Va., submitted a plan to build a solar phone charger and received approval for installation from their school board. Ridgeview High School’s robotics team from Clintwood, Va., plans to create a solar powered robot to help educate their peers and community about solar energy.

The Solar Fair and the 2017 Southwest Virginia Economic Forum at UVa-Wise the following day served as an opportunity to showcase the progress made on more sizable projects in Southwest Virginia. As members of the Solar Workgroup, we are also working on a handbook for actionable steps toward solar economic development in far Southwest Virginia.

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