“The sun’s always there” according to Pickett Craddock, owner of the Oak Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast in Halifax County Virginia. After installing solar panels at the historic bed and breakfast a few years back, she is ready to expand her solar array- and help her friends and neighbors go solar too.
When faced with rising energy costs at the historic bed and breakfast built in 1820, Pickett originally intended to install a geothermal heat pump but wanted something more tangible for her guests to see and touch. “I wanted people to feel what it was like to go solar,” said Picket.
Her 16 panel, ground-mounted solar array (measuring 3.9 KW) has cut her electricity costs and given her guests the opportunity to learn how solar energy works. Visitors are able to see the panels close up and ask questions about how it functions. Many are pleasantly surprised to learn that the system has no moving parts and requires virtually no maintenance.
As Pickett seeks to expand this system, she hopes that working together with other members of a co-op will make the process easier and cheaper.
“I would like to triple the size of my system and make it cheaper and easier for the rest of Halifax County to benefit from solar energy.”
So, Pickett has teamed up with nonprofit CPN to help launch the Halifax County Solar Co-op. The co-op is a bulk purchase program where a group of neighbors go solar together, reducing system costs and making it it easier to go solar. By going solar as a group the participants get economies of scale and reduce system prices by as much 30%. Anyone in Halifax County is welcome to join the co-op (residents and businesses), which will be launching in fall of 2014.
Check out the Halifax County Solar Co-op page for more information on how you can get involved or go solar!