We're Solar Powered 🌞

March 26th, 2024

For the past 15 years, when we turned on the lights at Firestorm we were using electricity generated by a Duke Energy plant on Lake Julian, south of Asheville. Prior to its retirement in 2020, that plant burned 400K tons of Appalachian coal per year, mined through mountaintop removal, making it a frequent target of environmental activists. When Duke moved to replace it with a new facility that burns fracked gas, that plan was opposed by Appalachian Voices, NC WARN, and others who argued that the environmental impact could be just as bad, or worse. Today less than 10% of Duke's electricity is renewable, and the company's future plans for industrial scale wind, solar, and hydro are sure to replicate the environmental racism and extractive practices on which the company built its fortunes.

It shouldn't be surprising to learn that, as anarchists, our vision for energy justice is decentralized and radically democratic! We're excited to share that our co-op is now meeting most of its electric needs through a 7.5 kW rooftop solar system installed by the good folks at Asheville Solar Company. Like other energy sources, solar has significant environmental impacts—from materials mining to end-of-life waste—but the shift to neighborhood-scale energy production, alongside a reduction in energy use through degrowth, is essential to the solarpunk future we dream of.