Quite often, they generate more power than they need, and that once prompted Hoffa to jokingly tell Shewmake, "We have to buy more electric appliances."
He's been experimenting with growing hydroponic vegetables by using grow lights. What the heck, he's got the power to spare.
Hoffa said one misconception about solar power is that it works best in Southern climates.
"People say it doesn't work in West Virginia, but I beg to differ," he said.
In the United States, New Jersey uses the most solar-generated power, and Hoffa said that is because the state offers more tax incentives for installing it. Worldwide, Germany - located in the Northern Hemisphere - is the No. 1 country using solar power. Again, the country offers many financial incentives for business and residential customers that use solar power.
West Virginia and the federal government do have tax incentives for those using alternative energy, and Hoffa said part of his customer service is to explain all of the options available. A state credit, for example, carries a yearly cap, so he often advises customers to phase in installation of solar panels to best take advantage of that.
While Hoffa suggests customers work with their utilities, he understands that has its limitations. During last summer's derecho, power was out in Greenbrier County as it was in many other areas of the state.
"When the grid went down, we went down," he said. Because battery systems to store solar power are so expensive as to be cost prohibitive, he advocates using a generator and establishing a critical circuit in the home to power only what is necessary during an outage.
For information on Alterra Renewable Energy, visit its website at www.alterra-wv.com.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.