The Mountain Institute installs solar array overlooking highest - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

The Mountain Institute installs solar array overlooking highest point in WV

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The Mountain Institute will use a newly-installed solar array to reduce electricity costs and help teach visitors about energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The institute is located at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center in Pendleton County.

The 3.055 kilowatt photovoltaic array is housed on the center's Earth Sheltered Office Building, which stands a few hundred below Spruce Knob, the state's highest peak. It was constructed using grant funds from the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation. Mountain View Solar donated and installed the solar panel.

The array includes 13 American-made solar photovoltaic panels, capable of producing 235 watts of power, and the system ties directly into the utility grid and does not require battery storage. It also features real-time monitoring, allowing virtual access to data quantifying daily energy production and associated environmental benefits.

According to Facility Director Dave Martin, the array will help save energy costs and save the center thousands of dollars over its lifetime.

 "Solar helps us save on energy costs and fits naturally within our mission to empower visitors with a sense of respect for all the resources mountain areas provide," he said.

The system will supply 100 percent of the electricity to power the Center's Caretakers Cottage and is expected to save thousands of dollars in electricity costs over its lifetime.

The original system design had called for 12 panels; however, Mountain View Solar of Berkeley Springs offered to donate an extra panel to increase system size and power output.

 "We are happy to partner with The Mountain Institute and donate a solar panel to support education and environmental stewardship in West Virginia," said Colin Williams of Mountain View.

The solar installation follows the recent completion of a 3.12-kilowatt solar array atop the Farmers Market in Morgantown and is part of a series of projects designed by The Mountain Institute to mitigate rising energy costs, empower local economic development and help protect natural resources.