Archive for September, 2013

Solar Center releases new case study, “Harmonizing Solar PV Permitting and Interconnection”

Posted on: September 30th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

The N.C. Solar Center has released a case study focusing on the City of Santa Clara, CA’s streamlined approach to addressing permitting and interconnection. In Santa Clara, rooftop solar PV installers can get one-stop, over-the-counter permitting and interconnection review for residential solar installations under 10kW. This case study was completed as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership (SolarOPs).

Local governments with municipal utilities are uniquely positioned to perform permitting and interconnection reviews (and related inspections) for rooftop solar PV systems in an efficient and cost-effective manner, thereby reducing the “soft costs” associated with the system. Since the entire process is managed by the same municipal government, there exists an excellent opportunity to coordinate the permitting, inspection and interconnection process.

Click here for the full case study.

Forum for the Development of a Template Solar Ordinance for NC – Lumberton, NC on 9/24

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


Presented jointly by
the NC Sustainable Energy Association & NC Solar Center

Join the NC Sustainable Energy Association and the NC Solar Center for the fourth in a series of five public for a designed specifically to spark critical information sharing on the technical, social, and environmental aspects of solar projects, with the goal of informing the development of a template solar ordinance for NC.

 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Carolina Civic Center
315 North Chestnut Street
Lumberton, NC  28359

 

Seating is Limited:   Register today for Lumberton Forum

 

Please visit the NC Sustainable Energy Association site for an agenda.

 

Also, please join us in Charlotte for the Final Forum!

Friday, October 18, 2013 | 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Harris Conference Center

3216 Central Piedmont Community College Harris Campus Dr.

Charlotte, NC 28208
Seating is Limited:   Register today for Charlotte Forum

 

North Carolina has experienced dynamic growth in solar photovoltaic system development; much of it in rural areas of North Carolina where jobs have been created and tax bases have grown.  Still, there is limited education for the general public, land owners, and local governments on facilitating this type of development in a way that harmonizes with local needs.  Though some towns and counties have already passed solar ordinances to provide a useful guide for the development of solar projects, many others have not. This forum series offers a chance for local education and discussion on solar development, as well as an opportunity for all stakeholders to begin to provide input to the drafting of the template solar ordinance for North Carolina. The result of this collaborative effort will offer a path that can help all interested parties in North Carolina advance their goals and protect their interests regardless of where they come from or what they hope to achieve.

The template solar ordinance will be available in October and can be adapted and adopted by counties and municipalities across the state.   We encourage your attendance at this dynamic and informative event.

There is also opportunity to begin sharing your thoughts and ideas on this topic through the Institute for Emerging Issues Commons Tool.  In order to provide input through the Commons, interested parties must first register using a quick – and free – process. After registering, people interested in contributing simply log into the Commons site and click on the challenge questions at the bottom of the Working Groups page to get started. Links to other ordinances offered as examples are included on the first Working Groups page as a helpful reference and additional background is available to help guide people through each of the challenge questions as you click through.

To access the IEI Commons online tool, please go to the following link: https://emergingissuescommons.org/working-groups/cuvpp. The landing page will prompt you to log in (or register if you are a first time visitor to the site). From there, you can access the ten challenge statements and begin sharing your ideas.

 

Benefits of Attendance
  • Increase your understanding of local solar development and permitting processes and issues.
  • Learn about stakeholder values regarding solar energy facilities and land use.
  • Learn how solar affects local communities.
  • Explore best practices for solar siting.
  • Network with energy leaders, consumers, planners and many others.
  • Participate in break-out session and panel discussion.
  • Play a part in the process of developing a set of common ‘rules of the road’ for solar energy facilities in North Carolina.
  • Hear from experienced individuals who own land and knowledgeable professionals from an array of backgrounds.

 

Attendee Profile
  • Electric Utilities and Independent Power Producers
  • Local, State and Federal Government Officials and Staff
  • Clean Energy Business Owners and Employees
  • Planning Agencies, Energy Advisors and Consultants
  • Clean Energy Architects, Engineers and Construction Representatives
  • Community College and University Researchers
  • Commercial and Industrial Energy Customers
  • Clean Energy Technology Adopters, Site Owners and Managers
  • Manufacturers of Renewable Energy Systems
  • Clean Energy System Integrators
  • Start-up Entrepreneurs

 

For Sponsorship Information, contact kathleen@energync.org

For General Information on Public Fora or the Drafting of the Template Solar Ordinance, contact:

Tommy Cleveland, PE
Solar Energy Engineer
North Carolina Solar Center
N.C. State University
919.515.9432 (office)
Tommy_Cleveland@ncsu.edu

or

Michael Fucci

Policy and Market Analyst

North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association

302.584.4152 (cell)

Fucci@energync.org

Emergency Preparedness Meets Alternative Fuels in First Responder Training

Posted on: September 19th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

The N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University hosted a two-day training workshop for area first responders as part of the Carolina Blue Skies & Green Jobs Initiative.  The workshop was held September 17th and 18th on the N.C. State University campus.  The objective was to give area emergency response personnel the opportunity to familiarize themselves with, understand the potential hazards unique to, and learn some of the specialized emergency procedures associated with the growing number of alternative fuel vehicles and stations that they may encounter throughout the area. Attendance each day exceeded 50 participants with emergency response personnel coming from as far away as the Piedmont Triad area and the North Carolina coast. In attendance was Robert Shuler Engineering Liaison for the N.C. Department of Insurance and State Fire Marshalls office who noted, “The information presented was excellent.  A lot of the facts were clearly presented and myths dispelled.”

Led by Rich Cregar, an instructor and vehicle technician with over 25 years of  alternative fuels experience,  the workshop was a combination of classroom and hands-on learning with a static vehicle review each day that included propane, natural gas, biodiesel, electric hybrid, plug-in electric hybrid, hydraulic hybrid and electric vehicles. Additional support was provided by Wilson and Nash Community College Fire and Emergency Programs instructors. Both the classroom and vehicle review portions were filmed for future use. “ We intend to work with the State Fire Marshall’s office and N.C. State’s Distance Education Learning Technologies program to package the two-day training  in modular sections  to be posted online, so that emergency personnel can benefit from the training from their desk,”  said Rick Sapienza, workshop lead for the N.C. Solar Center.

The Carolina Blue Skies & Green Jobs Initiative, funded through the U.S. Department of Energy with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, deployed more than 500 alternative fuel vehicles and commissioned more than 140 alternative fueling sites throughout North and South Carolina. The N.C. Solar Center was a principle partner to the project lead by the Triangle Clean Cities Coalition at Triangle J Council of Governments.

 

About the North Carolina Solar Center:

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University 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 visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

Media Contact:

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

Coastal Wind Conference Highlights Wind Industry in the Southeast

Posted on: September 10th, 2013 by shannon No Comments
The N.C. Solar Center is a proud partner of the 2nd Annual Conference

 

Raleigh, N.C. – The Southeastern states from Virginia to Florida are home to over 65 wind related manufacturing facilities that support thousands of wind energy jobs in the Southeast region. These supply chain facilities could expand significantly as land-based and offshore wind developments begin in the region. Besides having a highly-skilled manufacturing base, the Southeast has several other competitive advantages, including the lowest estimated construction cost for offshore wind projects on the East Coast according to the Energy Information Administration. The region is also home to nearly half of the offshore wind resource and five of the six largest electricity markets on the East Coast.

“The Southeast provides an excellent opportunity to continue growing the land-based wind industry in the U.S. and use those experiences to help build a robust offshore industry,” said the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) CEO, Michael Brower.
The following recent activities and announcements highlight the wind industry’s momentum in the region:

 

  • The Department of Energy’s 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report released this month found that the turbines installed in 2012 have an increased average hub height and rotor diameter than in years past – these developments in land-based turbine technology benefit development in lower wind speed areas like the Southeast region.
  • A North Carolina wind permitting bill, signed into law this May, provides guidelines for developers to obtain a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for wind farms in the state and stipulates a schedule for public meetings surrounding projects.
  • Georgia Power announced this April that 250 megawatts of wind energy will be purchased from EDP wind farms in Oklahoma starting in January 2016. The electricity provided will be enough to power over 50,000 homes in Georgia Power’s service territory.
  • A South Carolina Supply Chain Survey and Offshore Wind Economic Impact Study released in 2012 estimates an annual average of 3,329 jobs per year with the installation of 1,000 MW off the coast of South Carolina.
  •  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced in July that the competitive lease sale for Virginia’s Wind Energy Area will be held this September. The area, covering over 112,000 acres, will be auctioned as a single lease.
  • The city of Charleston, S.C., recently passed a resolution recognizing the economic benefits of offshore wind energy and welcoming the industry. With world-class ports & transportation infrastructure, highly-skilled, low-cost labor, and some of the most advanced research facilities in the world, Charleston and other Southeastern coastal cities have what it takes to be leaders in the wind industry supply chain.
  • Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina will unveil a state-of-the-art research vessel, called the Coastal Explorer, this winter. The vessel will be similar to those carrying out survey work for offshore wind projects in Europe and will be a great asset for the offshore wind industry on the East Coast.
  • A Department of Energy fact sheet released in July, Potential Economic Impacts from Offshore Wind in the Southeast Region, applied the new offshore wind Jobs and Economic Development Impacts (JEDI) model to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The results showed that a “moderate” development scenario would result in over 20,000 construction jobs and 6,700 permanent jobs in the Southeast by 2030.

Industry, policy makers and the public can learn more about wind energy potential and activities in the region during the Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference September 11-12, 2013. The conference, located in North Charleston, S.C., will feature session tracks covering land-based wind, offshore wind and the supply chain. General Sessions will highlight utility involvement in the region and offshore wind strategies from Europe. In addition to educational sessions, attendees will have a chance to view simulations from BOEM’s NC visual simulation study and tour Clemson University’s new Wind Turbine Drive train Testing Facility in North Charleston.

“The conference is a great example of the regional approach that the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition is promoting.” said Brian O’Hara, President of the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition. “By leveraging the strengths of each state, the Southeast is poised to be a major player in the wind energy industry.”  Over 20 organizing partners are engaged in the planning of the conference, including the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “We look forward to coordinating our efforts on behalf of this promising technology,” said Jeff Anthony, Senior Director of Membership and Business Development at AWEA.

To view the complete agenda and register for the event, please visit www.secoastalwind.org/conference.

About the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition
The Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition works to advance the coastal and offshore wind industry in the Southeast. We focus on supply chain growth, economic development, job growth, and wind energy development in the region with solutions that are beneficial to industry, beneficial to utilities, and result in net economic benefits to citizens and ratepayers. For more information about the Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition visit http://www.secoastalwind.org.

About the American Council On Renewable Energy
ACORE, a 501(c) (3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and is concentrating its member focus in 2013 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation. Additional information is available at www.acore.org.

About Clemson University
Ranked as the 25th best national public university by U.S. News & World Report, Clemson is a science- and engineering-oriented college dedicated to teaching, research and service while being named among the best values by Kiplinger magazine in 2013, and SmartMoney in 2012 ranked us No. 7 in student return on investment. Clemson University campus sits on 1,400 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, along the shores of Hartwell Lake. Research extension facilities and economic development hubs are throughout the state of South Carolina — in Greenville, Greenwood, Columbia and Charleston. The research, outreach and entrepreneurial projects led by faculty and students driving economic development and improving quality of life in South Carolina and beyond. In fact, a recent study determined that Clemson has an annual $1.83 billion economic impact on the state.

About the American Wind Energy Association
AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. America’s wind energy industry, with over 1,300 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Las Vegas, May 5-8, 2014. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA’s blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.

Raleigh to convert more police cars to propane

Posted on: September 5th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

RALEIGH — The city will more than double the number of police vehicles that run on propane, after a two-year test of the cleaner, less-expensive fuel proved successful.

The City Council voted this week to spend $195,000 to convert 30 police vehicles to propane, on top of the 20 patrol cars that already use the fuel.

Those 20 cars are used in the police department’s North District, based on Six Forks Road, where officers have found that the propane performs just as well as gasoline, said Capt. Doug Brugger, district commander.

“It has become so commonplace here, it’s not even an issue,” Brugger said. “The guys don’t even give it any thought.”

But with propane costing less than half as much as gasoline per gallon, the cars have made a difference in the city’s fuel bill. The Raleigh Police Department has used about 92,000 gallons of propane since the test program began in 2011, Brugger said, saving about $126,000 in fuel.

In addition, the city has received a 50-cent-per-gallon federal incentive that has added up to an additional $46,000 windfall for the city, he said.

The city converted the first 10 Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars to propane starting in May 2011 and added 10 a year later. Federal grants paid the $117,000 cost of those conversions, according to the city.

Clean, cheap and U.S.-made

The federal government encourages propane in part because of the pollution benefits. Propane releases 20 to 40 percent less carbon monoxide and about 80 percent less particulate matter than gasoline, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In addition, the vast majority of propane is produced domestically, reducing reliance on imported fuel.

The converted Raleigh police cars are capable of burning both gasoline and propane. The propane tanks are made of quarter-inch steel, Brugger said, making them less vulnerable to puncture than gasoline tanks.

Officers start a cold car with gasoline but switch to propane when the engine warms up and run with propane for the rest of their shift, Brugger said. In emergencies, such as a hurricane, the cars can use both fuel tanks and run for 36 to 40 hours without refueling, according to the city.

The $195,000 approved by the council is already included in the police department budget. It will cover not only the conversion of the vehicles but also installation of storage and maintenance equipment.

 

Raleigh News & Observer