The Wheeling Water Warriors, along with two other groups, brought Aaron Sutch, the Energy Program Manager of the Mountain Institute to Wheeling Jesuit University to present a seminar on solar power usage in West Virginia Tuesday night.
"A lot of people think that West Virginia's a cloudy place, and that solar doesn't work. Indeed, it does work. We get about 80 percent of the solar resource that Miami gets right here in Wheeling," Sutch said in an interview before his presentation. "And the costs are going down," he continued. "Solar is a long-term investment, so when you 'do solar', you're prepaying your electricity for 25 to 30 years."
According to Sutch, policies in West Virginia place brakes on solar power development in the state.
"In West Virginia, we just don't have the incentives. It's not valued as fairly," Sutch said. "For example, in Ohio, they have a lot of incentives that allow the value of solar to be much less, or the cost of solar to be much less, and they have 'open access' third-party financing that opens up a lot of opportunities."
Sutch also asserted state government policies on solar power in Pennsylvania and Ohio promote job growth. About 40 people came to hear Sutch speak at his presentation.