Blog Archives

Harnessing Solar in Appalachia

By Kevin Ridder The United States is in the midst of a solar boom. The Solar Energy Industries Association reported a 97 percent increase in solar installations in 2016 compared to 2015. But as other states take advantage of solar,


Unique Solar Applications

By Otto Solberg Although solar fields generate large amounts of renewable energy, the ground underneath is commonly planted with turf grasses that do not effectively drain rainwater and require carbon-wasting maintenance. These innovative applications of solar energy are minimizing those


Get Out the Sunscreen: Solar is Coming to Southwest Virginia


In early May, Appalachian Voices will co-sponsor two events to help usher solar energy into Southwest Virginia: the Southwest Virginia Solar fair on May 9 and the Southwest Virginia Economic Forum on May 10.


Rural electric co-ops invest in community solar

BARC’s solar farm contains 1,750 solar panels and produces 550 kilowatts of energy. Photo courtesy of the BARC Electric Cooperative

Community solar is a cooperative alternative to installing solar panels on an individual residence. Several rural electric cooperatives in Appalachia are now providing this option for their members who want to use renewable energy.


Electric Cooperatives Initiate Community Solar Projects

Electric cooperatives in Virginia and Tennessee have launched community solar projects to help members save money while reducing carbon emissions.


Power of Cooperation: Co-ops put solar on rooftops

Augusta Solar Co-op member and homeowner Keith Shank stands with a representative of the solar installation company in front of his new solar array. Photo courtesy VA SUN

By banding together in solar cooperatives, residents are negotiating better prices for home solar installations, supporting each other through the process, and becoming more empowered solar advocates.


Competition in Solar Power Challenges Utilities

Utility companies in North Carolina and Virginia attempt to block third-party solar power from gaining a foothold in their coverage areas.


Driving on Sunshine

Brightfield charging station in Asheville, N.C.

Appalachia’s Solar Electric Vehicle Charging Company Brightfield Transportation Solutions, an Asheville, N.C.-based company, has harnessed the world’s largest and longest transportation fuel pipeline. This nearly 93-million-mile wireless pipeline wasn’t constructed by a large corporation, isn’t causing a political fist fight,


N.C. Solar Snapshot

A 20-megawatt solar farm under construction near Biscoe, N.C., is projected to power the equivalent of 3,500 homes when it is completed in November.


Groups Test Boundaries of N.C. Solar Laws

In a direct challenge to North Carolina laws governing electricity sales, clean energy group NC WARN financed a solar project on a church roof and plans to sell the energy to the church for about half of Duke Energy’s solar rate.