The Eastern Panhandle has seen many changes in recent years. A major change was the opening of the Mountaineer Recovery Center (MRC), which offers addicts inpatient and outpatient treatment for addictive disorders. In November 2019 hundreds of members of the Eastern Panhandle celebrated the grand opening and our motto “Where Hope Becomes Reality”. Since that day, MRC has served thousands of WV residents and has continually sought innovations that benefit our patients and ultimately our community.
One new innovation I'm looking forward to is adding solar panels to our facilities. The solar panels installed by Mountain View Solar of Berkeley Springs, WV allow us to be completely free from an external power source. We pride ourselves on these efforts to go green and redirect money spent on electricity into patient care. In a year we will be redirecting between $ 25,000 and $ 30,000 of utility bills back to patient care. That means hundreds of thousands of dollars in patient care over the next 10-20 years. These benefits can extend even further with utility-scale solar projects, and I hope other companies in our region will join me in helping.
Much of our commitment to alternative energies and new industries is based on my upbringing. My parents were children of the Great Depression. Her life experiences led her to impress on me the importance of independence. They grew their own food and sewed their own clothes. As a Christian, I was also taught the importance of caring for God's earth. Solar energy gives us the chance to be self-sufficient, to be good stewards of God's creation and to redirect large energy costs back to patient care.
Fortunately, many other local companies also think outside the box and are permanently committed to our environment and our community. Several companies and alternative energy industries will generate significant revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in direct economic impact for Counties Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan – not to mention their annual property taxes and hundreds of construction jobs created during the development process.
It is also exciting to see the clear environmental commitment from these organizations as many of those who come to our area use project equipment made from safe, non-toxic materials. And they are over 90% recyclable.
These projects are an essential step in the growth of West Virginia's clean energy sector and our local economy. They also offer new jobs in a new and emerging sector. I support these efforts to think differently, support our local communities, and diversify West Virginia's energy portfolio while preserving the beauty of our region.
I am grateful to see these new projects unfold as many will be kicked off in the months ahead. I look forward to further promising energy developments for the Eastern Panhandle. At Mountaineer, we make hope a reality. Not just for the patients we serve, but also for the community in which we live. We are proud to be part of the changes that are making West Virginia an even better place to live.