Archive for February, 2013

NC proves Southeastern powerhouse for solar

Posted on: February 7th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

SNL Energy published a graph Wednesday that illustrates North Carolina’s opportunity in the solar industry — and what could be at stake if the N.C. General Assembly weakens the state’s commitment to it.

That wasn’t the point of the graph and story SNL published. As you can see here, the report is about 29.3 gigawatts of new power-generation capacity completed in the nation last year. The headline for SNL is that 14 gigawatts of that is in wind capacity — and that is big news.

Twenty-one of the 30 utility-scale solar projects in the Southeast last year were in North Carolina.

But if you look at the map, you will see that 30 utility-scale solar projects were built in the Southeast last year, and 21 of them were in North Carolina. That is more individual projects than in any other state (I count 18 in California). Of course, many of the N.C. projects were small, and the Southeast’s contribution of 130 megawatts of solar capacity is dwarfed by the 1,189 megawatts built in the West (they build big out there, particularly in Arizona).

But in the Southeast, North Carolina stands out way ahead of its neighbors. Florida, the Sunshine State, had three projects. So did Tennessee and Georgia, and that completes the region’s total.

A key factor, undoubtedly, is that North Carolina offers a state tax credit of 35 percent for renewable projects and mandates that utilities get at least some of the power they sell from renewable resources.

 

Incentive arguments

Both incentives are being questioned in the General Assembly, and action on both could occur before the new legislative session ends. There are reasonable arguments to be made about whether and how to subsidize renewable energy in general and solar power in particular. But projects on the drawing board make it likely that solar construction in the state next year will easily beat the latest annual total.

Companies from Pennsylvania, Florida, California and even Germany and Italy have begun developing projects here.

The state has gotten the attention of solar manufacturers that are interested in making their products close to their customers.

As the SNL report shows, it could be an industry in the making.

 

Written by John Downey, Charlotte Business Journal

N.C. Solar Center receives DOE grant to increase alternative fuel solutions across North Carolina

Posted on: February 7th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

Energy Award Supports NC Alternative Fuel Implementation Efforts

 

RALEIGH, N.C.– The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting efforts led by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University to expand the use of alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technologies with a $500,000 award for the Alternative Fuel Implementation Team (AFIT) for North Carolina Project. The AFIT project is a two-year collaboration of U.S. DOE designated Clean Cities coalitions in the Triangle, Charlotte and Asheville regions, Clean Cities coalitions in five nearby states, Advanced Energy and industry leaders such as the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, Duke Energy, Holmes Oil Co, the NC Propane Gas Association, Public Service North Carolina, and Piedmont Natural Gas.

The AFIT project is focused on reducing barriers to more widespread deployment of biofuels such as biodiesel and E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), electric vehicles, natural gas and propane in public and private sector fleets. Fuel specific charettes will result in actions to accelerate the use of alternative transportation technology solutions to enhance North Carolina’s economy and environment. In year two, a petroleum displacement plan (PDP) toolkit will be developed to assist fleet managers and vehicle owners in making decisions on which alternatives will best support their mission and goals. The PDP toolkit will include cost/benefit criteria and best application options and scenarios for specific alternative fuels based on national and North Carolina specific parameters.

A Southeast Regional Alternative Fuels Conference will draw attendees from the nearby states of Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The two-day, North Carolina symposium will include sharing success stories and recognition awards. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring together all the key parties in the southeast to leverage our unique talents and common interests in providing transportation technology and policy solutions to energy and air quality concerns,” said Anne Tazewell, Transportation Program Manager at the N.C. Solar Center and the AFIT project lead. “We look forward to the results of a cleaner environment and more business opportunities for alternative fuels.”

 

About the North Carolina Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU) advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

Contact: Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340, shannon_helm@ncsu.edu