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Green builder moves into larger space

December 15, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER | trishr@herald-mail.com
  • Mountain View Solar & Wind owner Mike McKechnie, right. shakes hands with Morgan County Economic Development Authority director Bill Clark outside Mountain View's new location at the Morgan County Business Park on U.S. 522 in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
Trish Rudder, Staff Writer

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — Outgrowing your workspace is not common in this sluggish economy, but for Morgan County green builder Mountain View Solar & Wind, it was a necessity to accommodate its blossoming operation.

Owned by brothers, Mike and Pete McKechnie, Mountain View Solar & Wind hosted an open house Wednesday at its new location in the Morgan County Business Park on U.S. 522 south.

The company now has 20 employees working in construction and solar operations, Pete McKechnie said. “We’ve added 10 more employees this past year,” he said.

Colin Williams, the company's director of operations, said solar portion of their business has grown by 300 percent since early 2009. “Morgan County continues to be a strong market for solar,” he said.

The company has two solar installations in Morgan County scheduled for January and February, Pete McKechnie said. A smaller portion of Mountain View's work in the Eastern Panhandle is wind generator installation, Williams said.

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“Because of ordinances in effect, a wind generator is not practical for some homeowners, Pete McKechnie said. “Solar is typically two-three times more cost effective,” Williams said.

Mountain View Solar & Wind works in West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and the company has four current jobs in four different states, Pete McKechnie said.

“Things are going great, and it was a good decision to stay in Morgan County because we actively target rural areas. This is where we want to be,” he said.

Mountain View Solar & Wind purchased two acres of the county-owned property at 522 Business Park, and purchased the Morgan County Commission trailer that was used as a county office during the new courthouse construction.

The double-wide trailer was moved last summer, and the company moved its operation from a small house in town to the business park, which gave them more space for employees and equipment, Pete McKechnie said.

A permanent structure across from the trailer is planned for construction by 2012, he said. “We've outgrown this temporary office,” Pete McKechnie said.

Bill Clark, director of the Morgan County's Economic Development Authority, said “this is another example of a homegrown business that has incredible potential for growth. This is a thriving business in a difficult time.”

The county owns the 80-acre business park, and EDA's role is to manage and market the property, he said. EDA sells the lots to business owners “and we continue to assist businesses in ways that we can,” Clark said.

Washington Homeopathic Products owner Joe Lillard moved his manufacturing operation to the Morgan County Business Park about a year ago. “It's great for the business park. This is a positive addition to the park,” he said.

Morgan County Commissioner Thomas R. Swaim said, “it's pretty exciting to see a company grow during these tough times.”

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