Written by Austin Counts


Austin Counts

Austin grew up in the coalfields of Wise and Dickenson counties in Southwest Virginia. As our SWVA Solar & Electrification Projects Manager, he works to bring solar energy and economic renewal to his beloved home region.

Building energy-resilient communities in far Southwest Virginia

Whether it’s a medical device, like a CPAP machine, or heating and cooling during extreme temperatures, electricity is an important part of a community’s overall resilience. This is especially true during local disasters and power outages.

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The Sun is Shining on Southwest Virginia’s Growing Solar Industry

Learn about several exciting updates on the bright future for Southwest Virginia’s growing solar energy industry, broken down into four categories: 1) residential solar, 2) commercial solar, 3) utility solar and 4) shared solar!

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Building community power for economic transition in the coalfields

The New Economy Network of Southwest Virginia continues to progress local conversations to bring positive change to the region.

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Absentee land ownership in Wise County

Fighting for equitable land access in Southwest Virginia

Large, out-of-state companies often hold huge tracts of land in Southwest Virginia and across the region for its perceived coal or timber potential — making it difficult for nearby communities to use the land themselves.

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The Lure of Appalachian Trout

A bass fisherman explores the conservation and sport behind trout fishing.

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people by solar panel

Touring solar successes in Southwest Virginia

Residents from across the region toured solar installations in Abingdon and Wise County, Va., to learn more about solar development, financing options and more.

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