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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
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March 28, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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March 28, 2012
 

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SECTION Wednesday, March 28, 2012 1!' W ! business news. Employ- Moo-re preven- not of After working for decades to bring solar infrastructure to the developing world, Engineers Without Borders is beginning a program locally to educate area homeowners on the benefits of solar power. Ext. 2405. kit, a text- Center con- Huliat chull@blu- or 304.260.4380, Engineers Without Borders spreads expertise from Uganda to East Coast BRYAN CLARK Spirit Staff convert solar energy into electricity. Classes will help homeowners with GORE, Va. - Engineers With- design and pricing of solar systems, out Borders International is bring- and show the procurement process ing its expertise in solar technology for solar equipment. The classes will to the United States, after spending also give homeowners an under- decades honing its skills working to standing of the basic science and op- improve the lives of impoverished erations of solar photovoltaics. populations in developing countries. "This is a simple .technology, and The Shepherdstown-based organi- it's cost-effective," Ethier said. "If zation is beginning an effort to edu- you can afford the initial capital in- cate students and homeowners about vestment the payback, in my view, is the nature and benefits of solar tech- well worth it. In six to 10 years the nology at the Land Celebration Cen- electricity you will be getting back is ter in Gore, Va. gravy, is free. You buy the thing to- EWBI recently taught a seminar to day, you'll be able to send your kids a group of local eighth-grade science to school years later because of the students, savings." "We had eighth-grade studentsThe most substantial barrier to en- come out. The science teachers just try, Ethier points out, is the initial loved it. They went nuts over it." cost of procuring and installing a so- The classes allow students and ho- lar system. meowners to get hands-on experi- "It costs between $15,000 and ence with solar panels, using them to $40,000, but you can decrease that drive water pumps and other electri- cost 20 percent by doing it your- cal equipment, self," Ethier said. "We want to teach "The whole idea is for homeown- the homeowners how to do the work ers to get used to solar - not to be themselves." afraid of it," said Roger Ethier, the Ethier explained that there are executive director of EWBI. many ways for homeowners to get Ethier said the classes, beginning the initial capital to invest in solar soon, will help homeowners with systems, including home equity three important aspects of moving to solar photovoltaic panels, which See SOLAR Page D6 HARPERS FERRY Social me- dia brings us into relationship with a vast universe of contacts that the walk-a-day life can never offer. We spend hours at our keyboards making "friends" and building connections. In today's marketplace it is essential to develop a consistent online presence' that builds and reinforces your brand. But there is nothing like personal con- nections to solidify a contact's impres- sion of you as a leader in your profes- sion - one who offers quality products and services that they need. In-person events require a great deal of resources, not the least of which is time. For the solo entrepreneur there is no way to organize a quality event in a manner that truly compensates the time and efforts required to orga- nize it. That being said, it is impor- tant to ac- knowledge the benefits face-to-face events offer your market- ing plan: You may think that people are interested in your product or service, but it is really you that they are in- vesting in. Believe it or not, there is I BRYAN CLARK Roger Ethier of Engineers Without Borders International is beginning a series of classes for homeowners interested in converting their homes to solar power at the Land Celebration Center in Gore, Va. I ROGER ETHIER Engineers Without Borders International recently replaced an aging electric water pump in Kyabirakawa, Uganda with a solar-powered pump which is much more reliable and provides more than four times as much water as the old pump. time via "al media something in the way you present brand developmentin real time. yourself that attracts clients to you. The value of friends, not the Fa- When people buy your product or cebook kind, but real people who service what they are really saying have shared space and perhaps a is, "I see something in your presence hug with you are much more likely that I am interesting in cultivating to interact with you on the various in myself " There is nothing like social media platforms. Each time sharing time together, in person, to I organize an event I gain new fol- heighten this relationship and con- lowers, and 1 see a marked increase vert someone's curiosity into their in the amount of comments I receive becoming a solid prospect, and con- on various posts from those who at- verting prospects into clients, tended the event. , Events make you strengthen your skills and ability to present them with Lorrie Schoettler's Swallowtail Con- confidence. The time between an- suiting specializes in the needs of nouncing your event and executing it is small businesses and solo entrepre- one long exercise in refining your rues- neurs. Reach her at lorrie@swallow- sage and practicing its delivery. This is tailconsulting.com or 304-876-8153.