James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and an associate professor of law at West Virginia University, explained, "If you install solar panels and your panels actually produce more energy than you're consuming, then you can sell back your energy at retail price."
This is true for other power sources besides solar. West Virginia households that produce energy have to be registered with grid operators to take advantage of net-metering.
In West Virginia the company that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity is PJM Interconnections. PJM's list of 140 registered energy producers in the state indicates about 124 are residential.
Nostrand says net metering is not heavily promoted in West Virginia as it is in many other states, such as New Jersey, which requires 15 percent of its electricity to come from a renewable source, such as wind, water or solar.
However, the West Virginia Alternative and Renewable Energy Act, passed by the Legislature in 2009, requires the state to acquire 10 percent of its energy from alternative or renewable sources by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025.
The various incentives combined with potential savings on utility bills can result in households covering the cost of their systems within 10 years, Anderson said.
When the Jobes began preparing to live on the land they had purchased, they had no knowledge of solar power or even farming. In fact, after getting married, they lived all over the world, including Japan, but mostly in urban settings. City life was never their dream, however.
She had always wanted to be self-sufficient, Linda said. "I don't like to have to depend on other people. I like to do my own thing."
The Jobes bought their land in 2008 and started building their home. They built it in stages, saving money and then adding on while also assembling the solar power system to support it. When the house was finished in 2010, it was completely paid for.
Sonny worked several jobs throughout his career. He held numerous positions in the Navy, including stints as a cryptologic officer and as a chief warrant officer. After 22 years in the Navy, he joined the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the FBI.
However, the transition to rural living involved a substantial learning curve. He and his wife turned to books, blogs and YouTube videos to teach themselves everything from raising bees to wiring the batteries for their do-it-yourself solar panels.
The Jobes' setup includes two generators, one propane and one back-up gas generator, to supplement their power if the weather is bad and their panels can't receive a full charge.
They say living so far out has taught them to have a backup for everything, but they rarely have to resort to the generators during the summer. Winter is a different story, with the solar panels producing less than half of what they produce in the summer.
"The winter has a very low sun angle," explains Sonny, "And this only gives us around four sun hours per day."
To make up for the lack of sun during the winter, the Jobes use their generator for about an hour each evening.
They also have to brush off any snow that accumulates on the panels because it would keep them from producing energy. However, the panels are black so the sun will melt a small amount of snow.
Living in awareness of natural resources has become part of the Jobes' lifestyle in other ways.
They produce much of their own food. They have hogs, cows, chickens and a garden. As they harvest their vegetables, they can and store them for winter.
Without a need to purchase much food at the store, they don't have to leave much. That is fortunate because the closest store is 40 minutes away.
The Jobes are advocates of their lifestyle even though they acknowledge that it might seem difficult to others.
They maintain a blog, Offgridinwv.com, which has readers across the United States, Canada and even parts of Europe. Sonny says he started it as an attempt at a "how-to" for aspiring "unpluggers."
"When we started up, it was very difficult finding information about people, houses, solar power experiences, lessons learned. 'Do I need to reinvent the wheel every time?' So, I hoped, at the time, to be able to show other people that you can do it with very little understanding of it, if you're willing to learn.
"We get the occasional visitor who thinks that we live like a troll - you know, under a bridge with no electricity. They don't really understand solar. They've lived in cities most of their life or something, and they don't realize that we pretty much have all the convenience that they have."
The Jobes do believe in moderation and don't do everything on their own.
Sonny still makes the occasional trip into town to pick up something at the store. He doesn't see that as abandoning his principles. Instead, he's practicing something he calls "self-sufficiency within practicality."
"You can make your own candles. You can make everything that you need, but then again you spend your entire waking moments doing nothing but that," he said. "We want to actually have some enjoyment out of it."