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Solar powered farmers market opening in Morgantown

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A new farmers market opening in Morgantown will not only feature local produce but also be powered by energy generated on-site.

The Mountain Institute, "a non-profit organization dedicated to education and sustainable development in mountain regions around the world," is donating the solar power system to the new Farmers Market Pavilion. The solar system is set to be completed in March and will power about half of the electricity used for operation.

This will be the first solar-powered farmers market in West Virginia.

"The project is a win-win as it will save the City of Morgantown on electricity costs, provide an opportunity for the public to recharge electric vehicles, and demonstrate the potential of solar power to generate clean, locally-produced energy," said Aaron Sutch, energy program manager with the Mountain Institute.

The farmers market will also allow consumers to charge electric vehicles.

"It is exciting to think that we will be able to use the sun to power vehicles right here in Morgantown," said Evan Hansen, president of Downstream Strategies, an environmental consulting firm. "This will put the city on the map as a destination for the growing number of electric vehicle owners."

The market will be used for the Morgantown Farmers Market on the weekends and as a covered parking lot operated by the Morgantown Parking Authority on weekdays.

"We are interested in the bottom line," said Tom Arnold, executive director of the Morgantown Parking Authority. "If solar can save the City money and enhance our services to the public, then it fits within our mission."

According to a news release, the system is expected to save the Authority approximately $4,000 in its first ten years of operation.

The solar project will consist of 12 panels with a capacity of over 3 kilowatts.


*This story has been updated to include the above information regarding capacity and number of panels.