As agricultural producers and landowners in West Virginia, we are writing to ask you to place HB 4561, or the topic of enabling community solar programs in West Virginia on the House Energy and Manufacturing Committee’s interim agenda in September. We believe that clean and renewable energy is good for West Virginia’s community and economy, for our farm families and for our nation’s goal of ending dependence on foreign energy.
Agriculture’s renewable energy footprint is growing in many neighboring states due to significant interest in the development of home-grown energy. By generating renewable energy on land and pre-existing structures, West Virginia farmers can have an active role in increasing energy security and lowering energy costs for themselves and their communities.
All West Virginians should have the freedom to invest in, and benefit from, locally- owned renewable energy that will increase energy security, and grid resiliency. Legalizing community solar programs would create more affordable energy opportunities for West Virginia families. It does so by giving them the ability to participate in a community solar project. Community solar can enable them to lower their bills, avoid utility rate hikes, and stabilize their monthly budget.
Moreover, removing these barriers to allow more homeowners’ solar access will spur economic growth and market competition. Community solar will create good local jobs, attract employers to locate and invest in West Virginia, and give farmers and other landowners a much-needed source of additional revenue through hosting community solar projects on their land.
The production of energy, its availability for use on farms, and the development of home-grown sources will be a key driver of energy security, community resilience and economic growth. Thank you for considering our request to seize an opportunity that will support the use of renewable energy in West Virginia while supporting those who live and work here.