mtvSolar marks César Chávez Day with service

Mountain View Solar celebrates March 31 as a company Day of Service in the communities where we live and work, in honor of the Latino civil rights and agricultural labor organizer César Chávez. In 2014, César Chávez Day was declared a U.S. commemorative holiday on March 31 in honor of Chávez’ birthday. Chávez worked to improve the labor and living conditions of migrant farm workers, particularly in Arizona and California, where César Chávez Day is a state holiday.

Mike McKechnie

mtvSolar has a company commitment to service, but president and founder Mike McKechnie chose to honor the day for a very personal reason, as he explained in a company message:

“I was adopted when I was 2 weeks old, and raised in a wonderful, loving family. My Mom and Dad, sisters Mary and Kiki, and my brother Pete; this is my family, and I love them all so much. I have had a great life, full of opportunities, and chances to do what I thought I might want to, always supported and allowed to think differently and follow my dreams by my family. My birth mother was Cookie Goepel (Cookie passed away earlier this year) and my birth father was César Chávez (César died in 1993, probably as a complication from his last fast). I always felt like I could not tell people or talk about it growing up and most of my adult life, until now,” said Mike.

Chávez and his family became migrant workers after his parents lost their farm in Arizona during the Great Depression. He worked alongside siblings in several migrant camps, then left to serve two years in the U.S. Navy. After his service, he returned to migrant farmwork in Arizona and California.

César Chávez

“César spent the rest of his life fighting for la causa (the cause).  He was a civil rights, Latino and farm labor leader; a community organizer and social entrepreneur; a champion of militant nonviolent social change; and a crusader for the environment and consumer rights.  He was best known for his efforts to gain better working conditions for the thousands of workers who labored on farms for low wages and under severe conditions.  His legacy is of serving the under-served, of championing for the greater good,” Mike said. “This is a part of my story, and my heritage.”

This Friday, March 31, will be a day for company employees to contribute their time and expertise with a variety of non-profit agencies in Berkeley Springs, WV and Winchester, VA.

Employees will be lending a hand at The Kids Club of Northern Shenandoah Valley, Humane Society of Morgan County, Morgan County Starting Points and Morgan County Early Head Start.

“I want us all to go and help the less fortunate people in our communities. Give them a hand with the things they need help with,” said Mike.

Beware of fast & free solar schemes

Adding a solar generation system to your home or business can feel like a big step, with a substantial price tag attached. There’s no way around the fact that solar panels and electrical work cost money. The return on investment is calculated in years, not months.

Unfortunately, there are many solar energy “offers” out there which can put unknowing customers in a bad situation — often by claiming to be able to give away free panels or systems. These misleading scenarios can involve solar leases – where the property owner never owns the system – or outright scams.

If you’re considering adding solar to your home or business, it’s worth the time to check out the details of these offers before signing any contract or letting someone alter your property in any way.

At mtvSolar, we hear from many people that they have been approached by someone wanting to sell or “give” them a solar system – often a ready-made setup that can’t be customized — if they’ll only sign the contract TODAY. This is a red flag for any transaction, and we’re glad to hear many customers say they walked away from those “offers.”

In our experience, most customers want to own their own solar equipment. That lets them be more energy independent, adds home value, qualifies them for tax credits and allows them to manage their own energy usage.

Even with a growing pot of grant money and tax credits out there to support renewable energy efforts, solar panels aren’t free up front. The panels cost money, connectors and electrical supplies cost money, and the skills of a well-trained crew and electrician cost money.

Our Solar PV Consultants are up front about this fact, and spend time running through the numbers with our customers to see how a system can be financed, and will reduce utility costs over the long run.  mtvSolar customers can be eligible for zero-down loans to finance a solar installation over 10-20 years, or a number of other incentives that can reduce the cost of a system. We know that solar is a good financial choice, because we’ve helped customers cut their power bills and even earn money back through solar credits, where available.

mtvSolar has been designing custom solar energy solutions for residential, agricultural and commercial customers since 2009. We’re not in a rush to sell you a ready-made solar system, because that’s not how we work. Each customer has their own energy goal, and each project is unique. We spend the time to educate customers about their options, to customize a system to their goals, and to install it properly so it functions as it should.

Take your time to learn more about solar. Visit our “Resource Center” section on to see Frequently Asked Questions and check out the gallery of our work. When you’re ready, we’ll be here to help you achieve your solar energy dreams.

As Maryland electric rates rise, solar options grow

Maryland electric customers are about to see their residential power bills jump up as part of a planned electric rate increase approved by the state’s utility regulators. Meanwhile, the market for solar energy credits remains strong, making this an optimal time to put solar to work for you and your wallet.

Customers of Potomac Edison will see their costs for Standard Offer Service (SOS) electricity rise on May 31, 2023 from 6.537/kWh to 8.910/kWh – more than a 30% increase. That price will remain in place for just four months. On October 1, 2023, the price for electricity will be 9.22 cents/kWh. Again, that price is just for the short term – through May 31, 2024. The price for SOS electricity from June 1, 2024 – May 31, 2025 will be set by Potomac Edison in January of 2024, the company says. Those costs reflect what electricity is costing Potomac Edison from its suppliers, the company says.

Maryland electric customers have choices about their power suppliers, from the open market to their own roof.

Solar energy continues to be a growing part of Maryland’s energy portfolio and is a very viable source for residential power needs. Customers can buy into community solar projects, seek out other renewables or install their own solar panels. Right now, there are unprecedented levels of federal grants and tax credits to make residential and commercial solar generation an achievable reality. If you’ve been interested in adding solar energy to your home to offset rising costs for electricity, this clearly is the time to take a step in that direction.

For commercial operations and farms, additional funding for renewable energy projects remains available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of their REAP grants – Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants. Project applications are due by March 31, 2023 for qualifying projects that serve small businesses and farms.

mtvSolar is your experienced, reliable source for guidance on adding solar to a home, business or farm in Maryland and the surrounding states. Explore our website, visit our FAQ page for Frequently Asked Questions about solar and click here to get your free estimate.