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West Virginia Wesleyan College and Key Partners Unveil Solar Canopy, Electric Charging Stations

Sep 17, 2020


BUCKHANNON, WV – The President of West Virginia Wesleyan College and key partners unveiled a solar canopy today that houses four electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and has a solar capacity of approximately 60 kilowatts, which will provide the energy equivalent of the use of six average American homes for a year. In addition, the solar canopy has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to the output of 13 average American cars for one year.

“West Virginia Wesleyan has received support from all aspects of the energy sector, and I am proud to share that today, thanks to a generous gift from Chip Pickering, the College is able to expand its solar footprint with the opening of the solar-powered canopy,” said Joel Thierstein, President of the College. Thierstein noted that the solar canopy joins the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library as the second on-campus entity with a clean-energy component. The solar canopy was made possible by a gift from Charles “Chip” Pickering, PE, PhD (‘78) and Pickering Energy Solutions. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provided a federal grant to incentivize the investment by Pickering and Pickering Energy Solutions.

“We are very pleased to be able to be able to support the sustainability efforts of West Virginia Wesleyan College,” Pickering said. “From their recycling programs to energy efficiency projects, adding renewable energy provides support for the development and focus of the next generation of our future leaders.” In addition to Thierstein, Keri Dunn of Pickering Energy Solutions, Kris Warner of the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Robert Fernatt of the West Virginia Electric Auto Association participated in today’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Pickering Energy Solutions is honored to be able to facilitate the use of clean energy and encourage the use of electric vehicles in West Virginia and specifically here at West Virginia Wesleyan College,” Dunn said.

“Having the ability to produce clean, renewable energy in West Virginia is an important asset that helps the West Virginia economy and rural communities by reducing energy costs and saving money that can be utilized in other key areas of the community,” Warner said. Fernatt added, “The West Virginia Electric Auto Association is excited to see the West Virginia Wesleyan College solar canopy and electric vehicle charging station open to EV drivers!” The canopy structure was designed and engineered by Pickering Associates of Fairmont, fabricated by Southern Steel Products of Clarksburg and erected by TKS Contracting of Buckhannon. The solar array was installed by Appalachian Renewable Power Systems of Stewart, Ohio.

West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan one of its 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan a “Top 20” Best Value – Regional Universities (South) and one of the “Top 75” Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 40 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, and nursing; 22 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 70 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit