Williams said that tax breaks and public funding from the federal government had a large part to do with the newfound success of the industry.
A 2009 law gave solar consumers an uncapped and unlimited tax credit for installing qualified solar systems on their homes or businesses. Essentially, for each geothermal dollar a consumer spends, they earn a 30 percent tax credit. There's no limit on the dollar amount.
"I think it may have been one of the catalysts that stirred it," Williams said.
People are learning more about solar power, too, he said.
"It's less of a novelty," he said. "Solar technology is proven technology. It's powered every satellite that orbited the planet. The state uses it to power road signs. The military uses it to generate power at forward deployment."
Williams also pointed out that while industry is booming, it has not reached a level to where it is independent of mainstream energy.
"There's nothing about this company that's in opposition to fossil fuels," he said. "It's a supplement, we need the grid in order to operate."
"Some people believe that [solar] is in opposition to the coal industry and it's just not true," he said. "We're simply not [taking away jobs], we're adding jobs."
Others say that West Virginia is not sunny enough to really have much success in the solar industry. Williams said that's not true. In fact, West Virginia receives only 5 percent less sunlight than Florida and 20 percent more sunlight than Germany, which can run its entire country on solar power on some days.
Williams said that their current residential installations account for less than 1 percent of homes in West Virginia, indicating that the potential for the energy market here is large indeed.
"Even if we do 1 percent, it's exponential growth," he said. "The potential for growth in West Virginia is very, very big."
Reach Zac Taylor at zachary.tay...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.