Solar Holler

The Scarborough Library on Shepherd University’s campus is home to the largest solar panel installation on a nonprofit in West Virginia. This photo shows half of its 189 panels.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


More than 180 solar panels are now on the roof of Shepherd University’s Scarborough Library. It’s one of the largest solar panel installations in West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, here in West Virginia, one source of energy -- coal -- tends to dominate discussions about the economy. But it’s another form of energy production that brought The World’s Jason Margolis to the state.

Much of Appalachia’s economy has rested on the boom and bust cycles of industries like coal and manufacturing for decades. It’s true that these industries have long put bread on the Appalachian table, but as those industries have faded in recent decades, jobs have grown scarce. 

So are there industries that might one day provide more financial stability to the region? This week on Inside Appalachia, we learn more about some unexpected and unique ways Appalachians are thinking outside the box to earn money, like growing industrial hemp, installing solar panels and even growing tea.

solar panels atop the garage attached to the First State Capitol Building
Glynis Board / WVPB

A Catholic Charities social services building serving residents of West Virginia and Ohio is installing solar panels in response to Pope Francis' call for caring for the environment.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, a new effort is being made in Huntington to train laid off coal miners for work in a new industry and Foy Vance is along with a special Thursday edition of the Mountain Stage song of the week.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Last month the Coalfield Development Corporation and Solar Holler announced they would expand an already existing partnership to help transition miners from coal jobs into a new industry. The announcement meant a new training facility at West Edge in the Westmoreland neighborhood of Huntington, but will work with laid off miners throughout the state’s southern coalfields.

West Edge Solar
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

The Coalfield Development Corporation took another step Wednesday in the advancement of a solar institute.

At the West Edge Factory in the Westmoreland neighborhood of Huntington, the Coalfield Development Corporation has a solar training program that teaches former coal miners and others how to install solar panels as a possible career path.