The Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky recently celebrated their new rooftop solar installation by hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Hazard Perry County Chamber of Commerce on November 16, 2021. This momentous event was followed by an informational meeting with InVision Hazard where energy experts from the Mountain Association kicked off the “Solarize Hazard” campaign, and its goal to help businesses in Perry County join together to save money on solar panels and other energy saving projects.
As a result of the solar installation, the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky is currently set to save $2,560 each year on their electric bills, with the project paying for itself in less than 18 years. Their installation was the second in downtown Hazard, following the town’s beloved Pantry Shelf grocery store that installed solar for a savings of $4,650 per year and a payoff of 12 years at the current electric rates.
“We knew that with our commitment to build thriving and resilient communities in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, we needed to start at home,” said Kristin Collins, the Chief Operations Officer at the Foundation. “Our office located in downtown Hazard is now saving money, generating solar energy, and helping to create a brighter future for Central Appalachia.”
The Solarize Hazard campaign intends to build on these initial projects and serve as a catalyst for more commercial businesses in the Perry county area to make the shift towards energy saving initiatives, such as solar.
“Solarize initiatives…have happened all over the United States and they’re based on research that shows when you see solar in your community, it actually just inherently feels more accessible to you because you can visually see it,” said Rachel Norton, Mountain Association’s Energy Specialist.
A solar installation project may be a daunting first step, but there are also other ways that businesses can look to invest in their energy saving efforts. While leading the informational session, Rachel also mentioned that lighting upgrades and other energy efficiency retrofits can be accessible and provide quick results. She shared results from recent lighting upgrades in the area, citing an example from nearby Isom IGA that cost $4,750, but will save $2,160 per year – paying for itself in just 2.2 years. Rachel also described Letcher County Public Library’s recent upgrade that cost just $1,380, but saves $1,656 per year.
“The Mountain Association is here to work with our partners and to continue building our community,” said Les Roll, Special Projects Manager at our Hazard office.
We encourage businesses interested in solar and energy saving projects to reach out and connect with us. Several financial incentives are available through group purchasing with the Solarize Hazard campaign. Businesses can get up to 15 percent on solar installation, and we help you apply for the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants which can cover a portion of the costs related to solar and energy projects.
The shift to solar and other renewable energy is one impactful way that will gradually aid in helping our Appalachian communities develop and flourish. For more information, please contact Rachel Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 421-9161. If you’re ready to get started, you can fill out a short informational form here.