CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – State and local leadership gathered on Wednesday afternoon for a ceremony recognizing West Virginia public school districts awarded grants by the Coalfield Solar Fund.
Getting underway at 1:30pm on Wednesday, the ceremony took place at State Capitol Complex’s The Culture Center on Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston, WV.
Several notable individuals participated in the event, with those in attendance having been addressed by the likes of Senator Jack Woodrum – Chair of the Government Organization Committee, Access Strategies President, Daniel Hall, Intuit Vice President of Corporate Affairs David Sullivan, Secure Solar Futures President Anthony Smith, and Secure Solar Futures CEO, Ryan McAllister.
Wednesday afternoon’s event also saw a special acknowledgement of former superintendent of Calhoun County Schools, Kelli Whytsell, as a solar ambassador for Secure Solar Futures.
The Coalfield Solar Fund Initiative, carried out in partnership with Secure Solar Futures and the NEED project, seeks to advance renewable energy and establish new career pathways for Coalfield communities through West Virginia and other regions.
The first grant winners to be announced through the initiative include Calhoun County Schools and Mercer County Schools, who were acknowledged during Wednesday’s ceremony. Lee County Schools and Mountain Empire Community College of Virginia were also included in the first round of announced grant winners. Over $375,000 in funds have been granted across West Virginia and Virginia to incentivize projects pertaining to solar energy across these school districts.
“We are so excited to announce as a partner of the Coalfield Solar Fund, that today at the West Virginia Solar Fund Awards Ceremony, we presented Calhoun County Public Schools and Mercer County Public Schools with award grants!,” said a Secure Solar Futures representative following the ceremony.
“We heard from Secretary Randall Rose and Senator Jack Woodrum as well as Intuit’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs, David Sullivan and our CEO Ryan McAllister. We thank all their efforts in making this program possible!”
First launched in March 2023, the Coalfield Solar Fund will work to provide support to school districts and community colleges in Virginia and West Virginia and surrounding regions facing economic challenges.
“It has been wonderful to see the impact and opportunities created by our initiative and one-of-a-kind Coalfield Solar Fund,” stated Anthony Smith. “By investing in solar projects, organizations like Intuit and Secure Solar Futures not only create job opportunities for the community but also provide a pathway for workforce development for the next generation. Through our partnerships with community colleges, students can earn college credits and gain real-world experience in electrical engineering, solar installation, and related fields, creating a more sustainable future for both the community and environment.”
Representatives also made clear that applications for the next round of grants are currently being accepted and can be accessed at the Coalfield Solar Fund website.
“As we wrap up a successful inaugural year of the Coalfield Solar Fund, I am thrilled to announce that applications for the second year are now open,” stated Charlie Reed, Global Sustainability Lead at Intuit. “We are excited to continue supporting eligible educational institutions in designated Coalfield counties in Virginia and West Virginia. Intuit’s mission is to power prosperity for customers and communities. By helping teach skills needed in today’s jobs and creating renewable energy sources for future generations, we hope to have a positive impact throughout the region.”