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Workshop To Bring Solar Power To Mingo County Institution

March 30, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It could be a real bright spot in a down jobs market. On Wednesday, a small but growing contractor from West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle will be installing solar electricity in the Mountaineer Hotel in Williamson.

Owner Mike McKechnie says the workshop is designed to demonstrate that the success of Mountain View Solar and Wind can repeated in other parts of the state.

"We will probably supply the material but we're going to have the local people, electricians and plumbers and contractors, do the installation work. And once they've done it one time, they all together say, 'That really wasn't that hard'."

According to McKechnie, his company has been hiring people at good wages when everyone else is laying off.

"We're growing as fast as we are able to manage currently. So even in this depression or recession, we are seeing extreme growth, and we are putting people to work. And the jobs that we are hiring are not eight- or ten-dollar-an-hour jobs. "

Many question whether solar power is financially workable, but McKechnie says that, between falling equipment costs and government subsidies, the industry is seeing explosive growth.

The workshop will last most of the day Wednesday, March 31, at the Mountaineer Hotel in Williamson, with the solar panel installation coming in the afternoon.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV