It's probably safe to say Mountain Line Transit Authority General Manager David Bruffy loves a sunny day just a little bit more than most.
If for no other reason, sunshine equals pennies from heaven for Mountain Line after a $1.1 million Federal Transit Administration grant helped cover the roof of the transit authority's 40,000-square-foot Westover facility with solar panels in July 2012.
Looking back at the first full year with the solar power plant in place, Bruffy said the bright idea he picked up while attending a national conference is paying off.
Bruffy provided annual and quarterly breakdowns of Mountain Line's electric bill, which showed a drop from $24,350.29 spent on electricity in 2011 to $20,395.87 after about five months with the power plant in place in 2012.
This year, however, Mountain Line's electric costs plummeted to $9,873.71. The transit authority spent just $778.66 on electricity in the second quarter of 2013.
"We 've had good results so far," Bruffy said. "The biggest thing is it works in conjunction with the weather. Those months when you're using more electricity, it's producing more electricity."
Bruffy said that after 18 months or so, Mountain Line has had no problems with the 572-panel setup, which is guaranteed for 20 years.
"We 've had no issues with any kind of panel replacement. We check them regularly for cleaning, especially during pollen sea- son," Bruffy said. "Aside from that, we've had nothing really in the way of maintenance."
Mountain Line isn't the only local building using solar panels.
The Book Exchange in Evansdale has had 52 solar panels on its roof since 2010 and, more recently, the city of Morgantown placed solar panels on the Morgantown Farmers Market pavilion on Spruce Street.
And soon, solar panels will start showing up on Habitat for Humanity projects.
Brianna Robinson, of Mon County Habitat for Humanity, said a partnership with Mountain View Solar will help partner families save on utilities.
"Two years ago, Mountain View came to a state affiliate conference and gave a presentation. It really started from there," Robinson said.
She went on to explain that, weather permitting, Mountain View will work to with Mon County Habitat to install solar panels on two Monongalia County habitat homes on Jan. 7.
Copyright 2013 - The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.