Charleston Gazette

Just four years ago, solar power got little recognition as a viable alternative to mainstream energy.

"There wasn't something you could consider an 'industry,'" said Colin Williams, the vice president of marketing and sales of Mountain View Solar. "There were very few people who had installed systems, but there was little in the way of industry."

Things have changed.

Experts say solar power is now one of the fastest-growing industries in America, with a total capacity of 1,992 megawatts, enough to power one million homes, according to data from the Solar Energies Industry Association.

Williams said that since 2009, Mountain View Solar has installed solar systems on 200 homes in the state, along with a bevy of government buildings -- some as part of projects funded out of the federal stimulus.

"Our company has grown from three people in 2009 to 25 full-time employees," he said. "And you know they're good-paying jobs."

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