Ag Producers Solar Co-op
Are you an agricultural producer in West Virginia? Ever thought about going solar? Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia can connect you with the resources you need to bring solar energy to your farm!
Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia is excited to launch a new statewide solar co-op for agricultural producers in West Virginia. The goal of this program is to help West Virginia farmers access the benefits of solar energy with technical support from Solar United Neighbors. Let Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia explain how solar can benefit your farming operation and help guide you through the process of going solar!
This program is open to West Virginia agricultural producers for whom at least 50% of gross income comes from on-site agricultural operations.
Participants of the Ag Producers Solar Co-op will gain access to helpful resources and regular email updates, as well as individualized support and assistance from Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia throughout the process.
Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia will connect participants with funding resources, including grant opportunities and guaranteed loan financing programs, available for West Virginia agricultural producers.
Solar United Neighbors of West Virginia will assist participants in soliciting proposals from qualified local solar installers and will help you select the option that best fits your needs. We support, advise, and advocate for you throughout the entire process of going solar.
How much does solar cost?
A word on aggregate net metering
Net metering is a policy that allows you to provide power to the electric grid when your solar panel system’s energy production is greater than your usage, and to use power from the grid when it isn’t. When your solar panels produce more electricity than you are using on site, your electric meter runs backward. When you’re using more power than your solar panels generate, your electric meter runs forward. At the end of the month, your electric bill reflects your total usage minus the electricity that your solar panels produced.
West Virginia’s net metering policy allows for what is known as “meter aggregation.” In short, this means that a single solar array can offset multiple electric meters on your farm. The value of the energy your solar panels produce can be applied to another meter on any property you own or lease that is within two miles of your net-metered solar system.
Meter aggregation can be completed virtually, so it is not necessary to physically connect your solar panels to more than one electric meter. For virtual meter aggregation, credits are first applied to the meter through which the solar system supplies electricity to the grid, then prorated equally to the remaining meters for the account.
How can I pay for a solar installation on my farm?
West Virginia farmers who want to go solar have access to excellent funding opportunities. The following resources will get you started:
- USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants
- USDA REAP provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements.
- Agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations are eligible to apply for competitive grant funding and guaranteed loan financing through REAP.
- Competitive grants are available for up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Loan guarantees are available for up to 75% of total eligible project costs. Combined grant and loan guarantee funding is available for up to 75% of total eligible project costs.
- Annual REAP Deadlines:
Projects with costs totaling more than $80,000 – March 31
Projects with costs totaling less than $80,000 – October 31
To find out more about REAP financing opportunities:
The Conservation Fund’s Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) finances and advises small to mid-sized enterprises, primarily in rural and under-served communities, including in West Virginia. NCIF’s Energy Initiative promotes sustainable economic development in rural Appalachia through energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.
As a nonprofit lender, NCIF provides financing to farms and agricultural producers for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. NCIF’s Energy Initiative also connects borrowers with a regional network of service providers and capital and funding sources, and coordinates technical assistance, including grant writing and energy audits.
To find out more about NCIF funding and assistance:
- Visit the NCIF website
- Or contact Hannah Vargason, NCIF Energy Project Manager, email@example.com, 301-870-2238
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Energy Initiative
The USDA NRCS EQIP Energy Initiative provides technical information and financial assistance for site-specific energy analysis and the purchase and installation of energy upgrades and improvements.
To find out more about NRCS EQIP funding:
- Visit the USDA Service Centers West Virginia website and click on your county. Producers must contact their local NRCS office to initiate an application.
- Find out more on the EQIP homepage.
Learn more about solar, incentives, etc. in our solar FAQs, or watch our solar info session video below.
Still have questions?
Email Autumn Long at: firstname.lastname@example.org.