BSC Library Articles Tagged: Solar Energy

  • renewable energy

    ASHEVILLE COMPANY PROPOSES 12 MASSIVE SOLAR FARMS

    May 29, 2014

    Photo: Shezamm/creative commons Large-scale solar power has been taking off in North Carolina, with Duke Energy's recent RFP for 300MW of new solar quickly getting over subscribed. Still, "large-scale" is a relative term. Many of the solar farms being built in North Carolina are somewhere in the 1 to 10 MW range right now—with Apple's Catawba County 20MW installation being an outlier. But the Charlotte Observer reports that Asheville-based Innovative Solar Systems is looking to leverage economies of scale, filing applications for 12 solar farms of between 25 and 80 megawatts, mostly located in Eastern North Carolina: Farms of that size…

  • renewable energy

    DUKE ENERGY TO SPEND $500 MILLION ON MORE SOLAR POWER

    September 17, 2014

    Photo: David Goehring/Creative Commons Duke Energy, the country's largest electricity company, announced this week that it was expanding its investment in solar power by $500 million, increasing its solar generation capacity by 278 megawatts. The move is being driven, say executives, by North Carolina's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards which require that 6% of Duke's retail electricity sales be generated from renewable sources by 2015. Rob Caldwell. Duke Energy's vice president of renewable generation development, told Fox Business: "That's why we're doing this, for renewable portfolio standard requirements," This latest announcement means that Duke Energy has made good on its previous RFP for…

  • renewable energy

    WELLS FARGO INVESTS $100M IN NC SOLAR PROJECTS

    May 8, 2014

    Photo: Strata Solar/video screen capture In another sign of significant growth in utility-scale solar across NC, Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar has just announced that it has completed construction of 9 new utility-scale solar plants using $100m in tax equity financing from Wells Fargo. The 9 projects are located in Bladen, Chatham, Columbus, Franklin County, Lenoir, Nash, Person, Vance and Wayne, and together will provide enough power for over 5,000 households.  According to Strata Solar CEO Marcus Wilhelm, the benefits reach way beyond the environmental: "We are very proud of our ability to invest and build in North Carolina's rural communities.  These…

  • clean energy

    USDA TO INVEST $55 MILLION IN NC SOLAR

    September 22, 2014

    Photo: O2 Energies/screenshot Renewable energy is growing fast in North Carolina. Just last week, Duke Energy announced a $500 million investment in new solar capacity. And on Thursday of last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited a Franklin County solar farm to announce $68 million of support from the USDA for 540 new energy effieciency and renewable energy projects. Importantly, for NC, both Time Warner Cable and WRAL are reporting that $55 million of that money will go to North Carolina projects in the form of grants and loan guarantees.  Here's more from the USDA's own announcement on the initiative: In North…

  • renewable energy

    HOW MUCH MONEY CAN NC HOMEOWNERS SAVE BY GOING SOLAR?

    May 7, 2014

    Image: NC Solar Center Utility-scale solar may be taking off in North Carolina but, so far, distributed residential installations are nowhere near as commonplace as in other parts of the country due, in part, to less favorable economic incentives. There are, however, several incentive programs available to Duke Energy customers, and choosing which one best fits each household can be a challenge. The North Carolina Solar Center—a public service center in the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University—has now published a report to help North Carolinians understand the costs and savings associated with installing solar panels on private residences. The guide walks readers…

  • clean energy

    STRATA CELEBRATES $1BN INVESTED IN NC SOLAR

    October 20, 2014

    Photo: Strata Solar On October 14th, legislators, community leaders, solar farm landowners and industry representatives gathered at a solar farm in Sampson County to celebrate one company's major clean energy milestone. Strata Solar was announcing it has passed $1 billion in project investments in North Carolina solar since the company was founded in 2009. Whether it's the USDA investing $55 million in NC solar farms or Duke Energy committing to a huge increase in its solar capacity, solar power in North Carolina appears to be on a winning streak right now. (NC has been near the top of national rankings for installed…

  • clean energy

    DUKE’S 300MW SOLAR RFP OVERSUBSCRIBED

    May 1, 2014

    Photo: Activ Solar/creative commons In a sign of just how vibrant NC's solar energy scene is right now, Duke Energy's recent RFP for 300MW of solar projects is already oversubscribed. And not just oversubscribed. It's oversubscribed nearly three times over. This is big news for clean energy advocates. Here's how Cleantechnica reported on the success of this effort:  The 300 MW request for proposals — for solar PV plants over 5 MW — that Duke Energy put out just a few months ago, only just in February for that matter, has already been oversubscribed nearly three times over, according to recent…

  • renewable energy

    NC REGULATORS LEAVE SOLAR RULES INTACT

    January 5, 2015

    From Strata Solar celebrating $1bn invested in NC projects to Duke Energy spending big on utility-scale solar, solar power—and in particular large-scale solar power—was on a roll in 2014. Developers had been concerned, however, that the North Carolina Utilities Commission might make changes to regulations governing how solar power producers are compensated by utilities. Among the items under review was a proposal from utilities to reduce the terms of a standard Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from 15 years to 10 years, and to change the size of qualifying projects from 5MW to just 100 kilowatts. Both of these proposed (along with…

  • agriculture

    How sheep farming can help maintain solar farms

    April 23, 2014

    Photo: Sun-Raised Farms, screen shot The solar industry is growing rapidly in North Carolina, thanks in large part to the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards law, which requires utilities to source 3% of their energy from renewable sources this year, increasing to 12.5% by 2021. Some people have raised concerns that renewable energy generation could crowd out agricultural uses of land. But NC-based Sun-Raised Farms has a potential solution: Let hungry sheep mow the fields. Chad and Jodi Ray started using sheep to maintain one of O2 Energies’ solar fields in Bunn, NC in 2011. They managed to lower O2 Energies’…

  • durham

    Solarize races to enroll Triad residents

    February 8, 2015

    Photo credit: Creative Commons We've reported  previously on “Solarize,” a DOE-funded initiative with grassroots momentum to ramp up residential solar. NC WARN, one of many organizations running Solarize campaigns across the state, launched its first project in Durham a year ago in January. Now it is focusing efforts on the Triad region. The Solarize model aims to make home rooftop solar installation affordable through a tiered pricing scheme that drops as registration increases. Through April 17, Triad residents may enroll in Solarize Triad, which offers not only free solar assessments but also free energy efficiency audits, thanks to a project…

  • environmental impact

    DURHAM-MADE SOLAR PEDAL HYBRID VEHICLES TAKE OFF

    March 13, 2014

    Photo: Organic Transit "I saw three ELFs on the way to work this morning, honey." That's the kind of statement that tends to get you funny looks from your significant other. But it's exactly what happened for this author, driving between Watts Hillandale and downtown Durham. The ELF solar pedal hybrid vehicle, made by Durham-based Organic Transit, has become a familiar sight on Durham streets. Offering the work out and environmental benefits of a bicycle with the weather protection, cargo capacity and convenience of a car, the ELF is aimed at getting urban commuters out of their cars.  Designed by…

  • clean energy

    Clean energy creates jobs in NC

    March 16, 2015

    Anticipated Job Growth in 2015. Photo credit: North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) completed its seventh annual North Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census for 2014. This years’ report shows steady growth in the clean energy sector, outpacing the growth of any other sectors of the economy.  From the NCSEA press release: “According to the 2014 Census, North Carolina has experienced approximately 15 percent annual increase in revenues generated by clean energy activities since 2012, reaching $4.8 billion in gross revenues in 2014, up $1.2 billion from 2013. The Census also reports significant job growth in…

  • renewable energy

    300 MW OF NORTH CAROLINA SOLAR POWER REQUESTED IN DUKE RFP

    February 17, 2014

    Photo: Activ Solar/creative commons Duke Energy has already built some large solar power installations in North Carolina, contributing to the state's boom in utility-scale solar last year. Now the energy giant is sending clear signals that there is more to come, issuing an RFP for 300 MW of new solar power capacity to be completed no later than the end of 2015. In a press release about the RFP, Rob Caldwell, vice president of Renewable Generation Development, explained that this will mean a significant increase in Duke's own renewable energy capacity. "This proposal will practically double our current solar capacity…

  • charlotte

    Campaign calls for solar schools in Durham and Charlotte

    August 20, 2015

    A Greenpeace-backed campaign, Repower Our Schools, is asking Durham and Charlotte school districts to go solar. 

  • clean energy

    HOW SOLARIZE DURHAM PLANS TO TRANSFORM A COMMUNITY: Q&A WITH RITA LEADEM

    February 5, 2014

    Residents gather to learn about Solarize Durham. Photo: NC Warn We already reported on how, under the banner of "Solarize", grassroots solar initiatives are spreading across the state. This DOE funded effort has already kicked off in Asheville and Raleigh, and now Solarize Durham is the latest to get off the ground with a launch event on January 15th. We got in touch with Rita Leadem, Assistant Director of NC WARN, and to discuss what makes Solarize Durham so special. What are the origins of the Solarize concept?   The Solarize model started in Portland, Oregon, as a grassroots effort to…

  • north carolina

    Target installing solar on eight NC stores

    July 10, 2015

    The big box retailer is investing heavily in renewables, including 8 large rooftop installations here in North Carolina. 

  • clean energy

    Clean energy jobs grew 20% in 2013

    January 29, 2014

    Photo: Southern Energy Management With big business investing large amounts in NC solar projects, it was little surprise that NC ranked among the top states for solar installations in 2013. But what does this mean for the state's economy, and is solar an outlier, or part of something bigger? According to the NC Sustainable Energy Association's 2013 Census, the entire NC clean tech sector exhibited robust growth in 2013, growing jobs to 18,404 full-time equivalent employees - up by 20% from the year before. And while RTP may be positioning itself as a clean tech/smart grid cluster, this growth seems…

  • charlotte

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham schools can save millions by going solar

    February 3, 2016

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Durham school districts can meet electricity needs, save millions by going 100 percent solar. In a press release published today, February 3, 2016, two reports by the North…

  • asheville

    COMMUNITY-LED SOLAR INITIATIVES SPREADING ACROSS STATE

    January 2, 2014

    Photo: Andreas Demmelbauer/creative commons There is a solar surge going on in NC right now, but most of that growth has been limited to large, utility-scale solar farm projects.  At least, so far.  New schemes are springing up in several cities across the state that seek to make solar affordable for ordinary citizens, including low income homeowners. Based on a grassroots model initially developed in Oregon, and supported by the Department of Energy,  Solarize Asheville has already been signing up would-be solar system owners and using their collective bargaining power to drive down costs. In November of last year, Raleigh city…

  • charlotte

    HABITAT CHARLOTTE TO INSTALL 550 SOLAR PANELS

    December 11, 2013

    Photo: Phil Prince/Habitat Charlotte Solar power is taking off in a big way in North Carolina. Now Habitat Charlotte, which has already made a strong commitment to green building, is getting in on the act. Charlotte Business Journal reports that the non-profit is installing 550 photovoltaic panels on its roof in an effort to cut carbon emissions and reduce its reliance on the energy grid:  The solar panels are expected to generate 137,500 kilowatt-hours annually. Work started this week, says Habitat Charlotte spokesman Phil Prince. A private investor is underwriting the project. Habitat Charlotte’s main office is on 3815 Latrobe Drive, off…

  • innovation

    A GREEN-BUILT MCDONALD’S SHIFTS THE FAST FOOD PARADIGM

    November 26, 2013

    North Carolina students are already leading the way with sustainable design. Perhaps more surprisingly, so is a North Carolina McDonald’s. QSR Magazine recently ran an article highlighting the effort put forth by Ric Richards designing a McDonald’s in a way that “treats the Earth well.” The freshly redesigned location is aiming for 43 to 44 LEED credits, enough to reach a LEED Gold rating. Key sustainable elements include: ·       Demolition of the old structure resulted in 99.1% of material being reused or recycled ·       An on-site solar canopy generating 7.5% of the restaurant's energy ·       92% of the building is…

  • clean energy

    600 CLEAN ENERGY LEADERS TO GATHER IN CHARLOTTE

    August 21, 2014

    The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association's Making Energy Work conference will this year be held on October 1-2 in Charlotte, NC. Bringing together 600 state, regional and national clean energy providers, advocates and decision-makers, the theme for the conference this year is billed as "Securing the Future". Given recent reports that the solar industry is once again facing a shortage of panels due to increased demand, and with on-going debates over the future of energy supply, there is probably no better topic for timely discussion. NCSEA director Ivan Urlaub explained the motivation behind choosing this topic: “This is a critical time for the…

  • clean energy

    NC’S CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE: A CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL SHORE

    November 19, 2013

    At the 2013 NCSEA Making Energy Work Conference, Michael Shore was honored with a lifetime achievement award – and for good reason. A co-founder and former CEO of Asheville-based FLS Energy, Michael has helped develop some of the state’s most high profile solar installations – including the major solar surge at Camp Lejeune.  He was also influential in the drafting of North Carolina’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, played a lead role in development of our state’s landmark Clean Smokestacks Act and was a founding board member of NC Green Power.  We got on the phone with him to talk about some…

  • solar energy

    SIERRA NEVADA’S NEW SOLAR-POWERED BREWERY IN MILLS RIVER, NC

    July 30, 2014

    North Carolina is not short of green-minded breweries. Sierra Nevada's new facility in Mills River is making serious amounts of solar energy. 

  • charlotte

    UNCC TEAM CREATES AWARD-WINNING NET ZERO ENERGY HOME

    November 4, 2013

    Photo: UNC Charlotte/Urban Eden It’s no surprise corporations are leading the solar boom in North Carolina, but our universities are also charging forward with innovative approaches to sustainable construction and design too. A multidisciplinary team from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte entered “UrbanEden” into the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2013, bringing home two awards - tied for third place in the juried Engineering Contest and winning the popular-vote People’s Choice Award.. UrbanEden is a net-zero energy solar powered home “inspired by a commitment to urban revitalization.” Although it’s designed for urban living, it still embraces nature with…

  • apple

    APPLE BUILDING 17.5MW SOLAR FARM IN CLAREMONT, NC

    July 9, 2014

    Photo: Apple/video screen capture Apple's massive solar farm in Maiden, NC, has already helped put North Carolina toward the top of the State rankings for new solar installations. Now the Hickory Record reports that the company is building another solar farm, this time in Claremont. According to the Recorder, this will be the third large-scale solar array owned by Apple in Catawba County alone: This would be the company’s third solar farm in Catawba County. One is located on the company’s campus in Maiden. And paperwork filed in 2013 with the N.C. Utilities Commission by SunPower Corporations Systems transferred to…

  • clean energy

    MAKING ENERGY WORK: WHAT’S THE FUTURE OF ENERGY IN NORTH CAROLINA?

    October 22, 2013

    From North Carolina's role in pioneering smart grid technology through a dramatic growth in utility scale solar power to a rapid proliferation of electric vehicle infrastructure - there are dramatic changes going on in how energy is produced and consumed in North Carolina. These changes reflect trends that are happening across the Globe, but how they play out in our region will depend on a broad range of factors from the legislative to the economic to the technological.  Lowell Sachs, Communication Director at NC Sustainable Energy Association, believes these trends will only accelerate. As his organization prepares for its annual conference,…

  • renewable energy

    DUKE ENERGY APPROVES SEVERAL HUGE SOLAR FARMS

    June 27, 2014

    Photo: Shezamm/creative commons Two major announcements from Duke Energy suggest that the advance of utility-scale solar power in North Carolina appears to be picking up speed. Firstly, Duke Energy Renewables announced it would build 3 large-scale solar farms in Eastern NC, totalling 52MW of installed capacity. As Charlotte Business Journal reports, this deal was made possible by a 20-year power purchase agreement with American University, George Washingon University, and George Washington University Hospital and, as such, the location of the project is crucial:  The eastern North Carolina location is key for the project. The three institutions were determined to buy…

  • clean energy

    EASTERN BAND OF CHEROKEE SEEKS CLEAN ENERGY FUNDING

    September 4, 2014

    Photo: R Walker/creative commons The Eastern Band of Cherokee recently opened up a native plant nursery, growing their own supply of native plants to assist their conservation work. The tribe has also installed solar trees and solar hot water to help reduce its energy footprint. Now Triangle Business Journal reports that, with the help of the NC Clean Energy Technology Center located on NC State's Centennial Campus, the tribe is applying for  $4-$7 million in Federal grant money which will be used to fund clean energy and energy efficiency projects.  If the application is successful, the money will come from…

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