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These former coal miners are helping bring clean energy to Appalachia: 'We're on a mission'

For the last nine years, Solar Holler has been making safe, non-polluting energy accessible to Appalachian homes.

Solar Holler

Photo Credit: @solarholler / Instagram

For the last nine years, revolutionary electrical contractor Solar Holler has been making safe, non-polluting energy accessible to Appalachian homes and communities.

Solar power is good for individuals because it minimizes energy costs for homeowners and even renters

While solar power saves money, it also reduces the need to burn dirty energy sources like oil and coal that release heat-trapping gases into our air and contribute to the overheating of our planet. Quite a win-win scenario. 

Because of these benefits, there's a widespread push across the U.S. to switch to solar and other affordable, clean energy sources — but one of the biggest barriers is the cost of installation. Low-income families and organizations often can't afford the upfront cost of installing solar panels, even though they would seriously benefit the most from generating their own free electricity.

Enter Solar Holler. 

"We're on a mission to make clean energy affordable; to rebuild our Appalachian economy; and to spread the benefits of clean energy to those who need it most," the company explains on its website

This team of electricians and former coal miners designs and installs solar panel systems, offering low-interest financing to do it, with no up-front cost.

Solar Holler started its work in 2014 by crowdfunding an initiative to put solar panels on West Virginia churches, winning the Interfaith Power & Light's National Role Model Award. 

When it became clear that there were not enough solar installers in the state to fulfill its vision, Solar Holler stepped in to train more. Soon afterward, the company began offering financing for homeowners installing solar.

"We're already paying a power bill," says Solar Holler's website. "With our financing, going solar is as simple as switching your monthly payment from the utility to solar." 

The company says that many of its clients actually pay less each month than they were previously paying for electricity. 

Solar Holler's mission also includes straightforward assessments of each potential build site to give customers insight into whether solar is a good investment for them or not – ensuring each client will be able to generate enough solar power to make the installation worthwhile.

To date, the company continues its work, offering installations in West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, and Ohio

It celebrated its thousandth installation in September, and in December, it broke the West Virginia record for the state's largest solar array.

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