The Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and
Applied Sciences (CEGAS) and the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at
Marshall are partnering with the West Virginia Division of Energy (WVDOE) Office
of Coalfield Community Development on a project to install a solar panel system
at Mount View High School near Welch.
The project is just one of several the groups are cooperating on to demonstrate renewable energy applications on surface-mined properties.
According to George Carico, project coordinator with the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, who assisted the WVDOE in locating a site where solar panels could be installed for demonstrating this type of renewable energy, Mount View is located on a high ridge—formerly a surface mine site—with extensive “sky-view” well situated for a solar panel array system.
Carico added that while the project will provide renewable energy to the school in the form of solar energy, its educational aspect is also important.
“While solar panels have been around for a number of years, most people don’t fully understand the various aspects, both positive and negative, of this type of renewable energy. At Mount View High School, the students, teachers, parents and members of the community will be getting first-hand knowledge. We’ll be educating a wide variety of people about this energy resource.”
The system at Mount View will consist of approximately 22 panels with a total rated output of 5.5 kilowatts, mounted on the school’s rooftop, which includes a viewing platform where students, teachers and other interested parties will be able to view the panels up close. The system also will include monitors to evaluate performance, and the results will be incorporated into students’ science projects.
Students in the school’s Health Sciences and Technology Academy program will use the solar panels to gather data and conduct research about solar energy and ozone levels.
Dr. Tony Szwilski, CEGAS director, said the Mount View initiative, combined with other projects within the CEGAS/WVDOE partnership, illustrate the approach Marshall is taking to evaluate renewable energy resources across West Virginia and to educate the public about their potential.
He added, “This project, along with our other ongoing wind and biomass projects with the WVDOE, demonstrates how we’re taking a progressive role in assessing wind, solar and biomass energy resource potential on surface-mined lands. We’re pleased to be a key player in this venture.”
A total of $55,000 in federal and county funding is being provided for the Mount View project, including $45,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $10,000 from the McDowell County Board of Education. The solar panel system is expected to be installed early this year.
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