Opinion: Solar needs to be allowed to compete


An Op/Ed in the Charleston Gazette/Mail (March 3) made the case for allowing power purchase agreements (PPAs) for on-site renewable and alternative energy generation facilities in West Virginia . Dan Conant, founder/CEO of Solar Holler, and Brandon Dennison, founder/CEO of Coalfield Development, co-wrote the piece. Solar Holler and Coalfield Development are among the 39 members of West Virginians For Energy Freedom’s coalition. Here’s an excerpt:

Distributed renewable energy resources like solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass offer increasingly affordable alternatives to the outdated model of centralized utility monopolies. More West Virginia families, businesses, communities and institutions could benefit from these affordable energy options — if our elected officials create a policy environment that encourages choice, competition and diversification within our evolving energy system. …

[Legalizing PPAs] is one tangible step our elected officials can take to make West Virginia a more competitive and attractive place to live and do business.

Read the full Op/Ed here and leave a comment to show your support. We want to keep the conversation going about PPAs .

While PPAs didn't make it out of committee this year, the West Virginia legislature will get another chance in 2020 to pass the pro-business, pro-jobs law. Sign up below to get occasional updates on our plans for the next session.

West Virginians rise to support Power Purchase Agreements and set stage for future success

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West Virginia homeowners, businesses, municipalities, schools, and non-profits are eager to generate their own electricity and save money with renewable energy. Unfortunately, too few are able to do so because of the upfront cost. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are one solution to this problem. PPAs allow for third-party ownership of renewable and alternative energy generation projects such as solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, biomass, and combined heat and power (CHP) facilities. PPAs are not yet legal in West Virginia, but our state’s community of renewable energy supporters is working hard to change this.

Since launching a campaign to legalize PPAs in West Virginia less than six months ago, 39 organizations, municipalities, and businesses – from local to multinational – have formally joined the West Virginians for Energy Freedom coalition. Many more individual supporters and advocates stood up for energy freedom in the Mountain State by emailing, calling, or meeting in person with lawmakers to express their support for PPAs.

Thanks to these advocacy efforts by West Virginians for Energy Freedom and its affiliates, bipartisan groups of West Virginia lawmakers in both chambers introduced bills to legalize PPAs for on-site renewable and alternate energy generation facilities during the 2019 legislative session. While neither of these measures made it out of committee in time to move forward this year, it is rare for a bill to become law the first year it is introduced. So, let’s keep our chins up and start planning for success in 2020!

The progress we have made so far is thanks to every single one of you who took action on this issue. Special thanks are due to our dedicated team of mostly volunteer campaign leaders who continue to fight tirelessly for West Virginians’ energy rights. We are excited to continue this campaign, grow our coalition, engage new stakeholders, and bring the fight for energy freedom to lawmakers’ local districts during the legislative interim!

Be sure to sign up below for our mailing list to receive future campaign updates and action alerts. Thank you for supporting energy freedom in West Virginia!

Charleston Gazette-Mail Outlook: Solar developers see bright future

An article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s special Outlook section on Engineering & Energy (Feb. 17, 2019) featured an in-depth look at solar power and its growth in West Virginia. A section of the article focused on our campaign to support bills to make Power Purchase Agreements legal in West Virginia.

From the report:

Autumn Long of Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia said this is the first time a PPA bill has been introduced in the Legislature. “Everyone we’ve talked to, once they understand what this bill would do, is basically supportive of it. It appeals to both sides of the aisle, and gives the legislators an opportunity to come together and support something really positive.”

Read the full report here.

Letter to the Editor: Urge WV Legislature to support measures on environment (Gazette Opinion)

"Twenty-six states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland, have passed legislation to make power purchase agreements legal, thus enabling third-party financing/development of distributed energy systems using solar panels or landfill bio-gas, for example. In fact, we will have the opportunity to support PPAs here, when bipartisan legislation is introduced in the Legislature very soon, writes Holly Cloonan of Charleston in a Letter to the Editor in the Jan. 25 issue of the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Read the full letter.

Letter to the Editor: Lawmakers should legalize power agreements (Daily Mail Opinion)

Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are one step that West Virginia lawmakers can take this session to encourage competition, growth, and development in our rapidly changing energy system, writes Tom Loehr, president of Collegiate Solar Energy, and Autumn Long, program director of Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia in a Letter to the Editor to the Daily Mail WV Opinion page of the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Jan. 15, 2019.

Read the full letter.