Two Allegheny College Alums Provide Clean Energy To Appalachia

For over a decade, Laura Nagel ’07 and Dan Conant ’07 have relentlessly contributed to clean energy in West Virginia by providing a full-service solar development and installation service known as Solar Holler

The idea for the company started as Conant’s Senior Comprehensive Project, which proposed that clean energy needs to come to communities where fossil fuels dominate. As founder and president of Solar Holler, Conant is proud to give back to his native state.

“By creating this company we’ve been able to really jumpstart an entire industry in West Virginia,” says Conant. “I get to do stuff that I really, really love and do it in a way that shows care and attention for West Virginia. That means a lot to me.”

 Dan Conant ’07
Dan Conant ’07

As an international studies major with a minor in French, Conant originally wanted to enter the Peace Corps or foreign service but quickly discovered his passion for environmental science and sustainability. The realization led him to work as a lab assistant at Alllegheny’s Bousson Research Reserve, pursue a master’s degree in climate policy from Johns Hopkins University, and lobby for conservation in Washington, D.C. 

Conant says he continues to lean on the connections he made at Allegheny College when he brainstorms, and he credits Allegheny Student Government for teaching him valuable leadership skills.

Nagel, who majored in environmental science and sustainability with a history minor, notes that her Allegheny education prepared her for a career in environmental science by providing robust and collaborative lab experiences.

Laura Nagel ’07
Laura Nagel ’07

Since graduating, Nagel has worked in the energy sector in data management for the Arlington County government and for Efficiency Vermont. She also earned a master’s in natural resources management from the University of Vermont.

Now at Solar Holler, Nagel serves as the director of service, responsible for handling customer service, service guarantees, and billing issues. Nagel says she enjoys the challenge of fixing problems and seeing the customer base grow. 

“I didn’t leave Allegheny College pigeonholed into my specific interests. I felt really prepared to engage with various areas of environmental science,” says Nagel. “I continue to be so impressed with the students at Allegheny. It’s exciting for me to see how Allegheny has changed and grown opportunities for their students.”