Solar Energy Projects See the Light on Former Appalachian Coal Land

Several sites in the central Appalachian Mountains are now being prepared for a new chapter in the region’s longstanding role as a major energy producer—this time from a renewable source: the sun.

Carey L. Biron, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Looking west from Hazel Mountain, Brad Kreps can see forested hills stretching to the Tennessee border and beyond, but it is the flat, denuded area in front of him he finds exciting.

Surface coal mining ended on this site several years ago. But with a clean-up underway, it is now being prepared for a new chapter in the region’s longstanding role as a major energy producer—this time from a renewable source: the sun.

While using former mining land to generate solar energy has long been discussed, this and five related sites are among the first projects to move forward in the coalfields of the central Appalachian Mountains, as well as nationally.

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