Startup Appalachia Accelerating the Entrepreneurial Economies in Appalachia Project NarrativeStartup Appalachia aims to (1) identify promising efforts that could produce larger results for theeconomic transition of Central Appalachia, (2) encourage direct organizing by foundations to fundaround the most promising work in the region, (3) leverage additional resources to scale projects,and (4) offer funders insight on how to capitalize on the investments they have made to date.Section I: Project IdentificationProject Title:Community-Based Renewable Energy for West VirginiaIdentify the name, contact number and email address of the following Startup Actors: Supportive Coach: Wayne Fawbush, W.Fawbush@fordfoundation.org, (212)573-5000 Nominator: Stefan Jirka, Stefan.firstname.lastname@example.org (434) 295 5160 x203 Project Leader: Aaron Sutch, email@example.com, (304) 413-0112Section II: To be completed by the Nominator1. Please provide a short summary of your motivations for funding this project and what you hope togain out of participating in Startup Appalachia.In central Appalachia and West Virginia in particular there is a noticeable lag in terms of installationand promotion of alternative energy policies and projects. This is no surprise in a state that isdominated by the coal and, increasingly, natural gas industries. Blue moon has supported TMI overthe last several years to scope community-based renewable energy projects, particularly landfill gas.Through the course of that work TMI has made inroads in understanding decision-making structuresfor energy policy at the local and state level. With this in mind, blue moon made a grant to TMI in2011 to expand its programmatic focus on energy in WV. TMI, with its expanded focus, developedthe Community Solar project which represents an innovative approach to promoting renewables andcommunity engagement. If successful it would not only serve as a demonstration of scaled renewableenergy technologies but, perhaps more importantly, an educational tool and entrée into broaderdiscussions about WV’s energy future.My main interest in participating in StartUp Appalachia is to actively collaborate with other funders.In particular, I’m interested to work with USDA, ARC and other government—local, state and/orfederal—agencies to understand how they operate and to leverage blue moon assets towards puttingpublic resources to work for a more sustainable future.Section III: To be completed by the Project Leader1. Clarify the short-term and long-term results of the project.In the short term, the project will create a model for investment by individuals in community-basedrenewable energy projects in West Virginia. Regulatory and legal barriers (federal and state) limit therapid deployment of locally-based investment opportunities, requiring creative project structures.TMI is networking with successful projects in other states, and will apply lessons learned to establisha working structure that offers investment opportunities in solar energy production that yield a returnto investors. Simultaneously, it will document regulatory barriers and work with partner organizationsto recommend regulatory reform. With the creation of its first energy production facility, the project
Startup Appalachia Accelerating the Entrepreneurial Economies in Appalachia Project Narrativewill demonstrate solar’s potential to create local jobs, mitigate rising energy costs, and empowercommunities to generate clean energy. TMI will initiate construction with its funds; as investors jointhe project, those funds will be repaid, and enter into a revolving fund that will create additionalprojects in other locations and communities.Over the long term, highly visible and replicable solar projects will build support for legislationpromoting the continuing growth of an economically viable solar sector in West Virginia.Community ownership will be assured by use of the revolving fund.2. Please provide a detailed description of howthis project couldbe expanded.Localprojects would be expanded to a state or regional level using a replicable investment structureand money from a revolving fund to invest innew solar projects.This revolving fund from TMI or itsLLC would support the up-front construction and administrative costs of new community-ownedprojects. Investment from community members whojoin those projects will return the up-frontfunds to TMI, and those funds will be applied to future community-owned projects in otherlocations.3. What resources are needed to assist in this expansion?To expand this project, resources are needed to pay for professional legal and financial services. Dueto the complexity and legal nature of community solar investment structures, expertise is needed todraft legal and financial documents including operating agreements, financial prospectus,subscription agreements, etc. In addition,resources will be necessary to manage and administrateproject LLC’s once projects are initiated.This would include general accounting for the revolvingfund and management of investor information.4. Please list the specific activities that will lead to this expansion. (Provide a timeline for theseactivities.)Expansion will be prompted by the finalization of the first community investment model inMorgantown in October of 2012. This project will be used as the model for future expansion intothe town of Alderson which will begin its project implementation stagethe first quarter of 2013.During the remainder of2013, both Alderson and Morgantown projects will be heavily promoted viaa high profile media and outreach campaign highlighting their replicable ownership structures andbenefits to stakeholders. This outreach will be used to solicitother projects and engage prospectivestakeholders.Section IV: To be completed by the Nominator and Project Leader1. How does this project contribute to the economic transition of Central Appalachia?As Central Appalachia transitions away from coal, the increasing deployment of solar energycreates anon-extractive and sustainable economic sectorthat will benefit local workersand impose minimalsocial and environmental costs.Solar will fill the economic void of decreasing coal production whilecreating a more robust and sustainable economic infrastructure in its place. Solar photovoltaic energy(PV) has been found to generate more than twice as many jobs per unit as coal and natural gas.These jobs (which include well-paying positions in construction, administration and productdistribution) stay in the community and produce a positive economic multiplier effect.
Startup Appalachia Accelerating the Entrepreneurial Economies in Appalachia Project NarrativeTMI’sproject modelwill increase deployment of solar in Central Appalachiaby allowing communitiesto have an economic stake in generating cost-effective, clean energy.By addressing up-front cost andother barriers to solar participation, TMI’s project model allows community members toeconomically benefit from solar projects.These benefits include returns on investments, mitigation ofrising energy costs and local job creation in support of solar projects. These local solar projects willbuild support for legislation promoting the continual growth of an economically-viable solar sector inCentral Appalachia.2. Provide a 1-paragraph summary of your project to share on the Appalachia Funders Networkwebsite.The Mountain Institute is developing a community solar project offering individuals the opportunityto invest in, and benefit from, an electricity-producing solar installation. The project aims to create areplicable model for investment and a highly visible structure in which community investors financea portion of the construction costs of a solar photovoltaic system and receive a return on theirinvestment.Our community solar model will help overcome traditional cost and administrativebarriers to increased participation in solar energy while empowering communities to benefiteconomically from the generation of clean, locally-produced energy.Section V: Conditions for ParticipationDue to the educational nature of this initiative, your participation in Startup Appalachia confirmsyour willingness topublically share and encourage the use of the ideas and strategies behind yourorganization’s project.