West Virginia Wesleyan College officials on Thursday cut the ribbon on the school's new solar array. / Photo by Beth Christian Broschart

Sunny Buck just got a little brighter with the unveiling of WVWC’s new solar array

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon is often referred to as ‘Sunny Buck’ and on Wednesday, the ribbon was cut on a project that will help the area shine even brighter. Local and state officials gathered with representatives from West Virginia Wesleyan College and Pickering Energy Solutions for the unveiling of a new solar array.

The solar array will provide about 11 percent of the power to its campus, according to a press release from WVWC. The release also said the system will provide enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 63 homes and avoid the release of 727 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

Also, the array field will receive seeding and natural vegetation to help support local pollinators and provide opportunities for natural grasses to repopulate across the two-acre field.

The WVWC solar array was the largest system installed in the First Energy/Mon Power system in the state. The project received permission to begin operations in April 2022.

Interim college president Dr. James Moore cuts the ribbon during the official unveiling of the solar array May 11. / Photo by Beth Christian Broschart

During a ribbon-cutting Wednesday, May 11, Dr. James Moore, interim president of WVWC thanked those gathered for what he called ‘one of the coolest things he has ever seen.’

“We at WVWC are really excited to be part of a solution,” Moore said. “I am excited we get to model sustainability for our students and for our larger community. We are honored once again to be the beneficiary of Chip Pickerington’s expertise, his care for his Alma Mater and his hard work and dedication to his field. We are very grateful to the USDA for their support of this project and we hope this is the first of many such endeavors that we can embark on.

“Lastly, I want to say, in addition to being the right thing to do, I think this array behind me is one of the most beautiful things I have seen,” Moore said. “I think it is gorgeous. In addition to it being all the right things for us as a campus and a community, it is also a gorgeous addition to what is already a beautiful campus.”

Pickering Energy Solutions, led by Chuck Pickering, ’78 Ph.D., developed the project.

“I am honored to be back here,” Pickering said. “I think the best thing Wesleyan taught me was to think creatively and get outside the mold and try to introduce new technologies. It is neat to come back here and re-introduce technologies we are going to be seeing more of.”

“I think the students need to see new technologies going on and the community needs to see it as well and know it can happen in our communities,” he added. “We can be a part of new energy frontier that the rest of the world is experiencing in other places.”

Members of the project team include West Virginia Wesleyan College, Melink Solar and Geo, DPC Contractors, the United States Department of Agriculture REAP grant and loan guarantee, Community Bank of Parkersburg, Pickering Associates and Appalachian Renewable Power of Athens, OH.

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