Posts Tagged ‘Solar’

N.C. Solar Center Releases Residential Customer Guides to Going Solar

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments

 

Raleigh, N.C. – As part of its work under the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, the N.C. Solar Center today announces the release of two new original resources: A Residential Customer’s Guide to Going Solar: Duke Energy Carolinas version and A Residential Customer’s Guide to Going Solar: Duke Energy Progress version.

North Carolina was ranked second in the nation for installed solar capacity in 2013, installing 400 MW of new capacity and climbing up three places from 2012 (according to the NPD Solarbuzz North American PV Markets Quarterly report). Most of this capacity in North Carolina comes from utility-scale solar installations, which highlights an opportunity to advance solar even more in the state by focusing on rooftop installations. These guides will support this effort by educating customers about solar and clarifying many of the misconceptions about the cost of going solar.

The guides focus on explaining, in easy to understand terms, the different financial options available to homeowners interested in going solar. These are broken up into incentives that reduce the upfront cost of going solar, such as tax credits and Duke Energy Progress’ SunSense program, and payback options that credit you for the energy produced by your solar photovoltaic (PV) system, like net metering and N.C. GreenPower.

In addition to a description of these options, the guides include a detailed analysis of the monthly and long-term utility bill savings that each option provides to the typical homeowner, using data specific to North Carolina cities. This allows customers to get an idea of how much a solar system costs in their particular region after all available incentives are factored in, as well as what kind of utility bill savings a typical PV owner in their area sees.

Overall, the guides show that with an average-sized residential system at typical market prices, customers of Duke Energy in North Carolina can save up to an average of $55/ month for the next 25 years on their utility bill with a system that can cost as little as $4,000, after incentives.

Versions of the guides can be viewed here: Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress. For more information about the Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, please visit www.solaroutreach.org.

 

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 about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

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

New Guidance on Permitting Provides Boon for Local Governments, Solar Developers

Posted on: January 6th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments

 

 

Template solar ordinance offers adaptable roadmap for solar energy development with a local twist

RALEIGH – The NC Solar Center (NCSC) and the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) released a Template Solar Energy Development Ordinance that addresses some of the most common considerations that arise in the permitting of solar energy facilities. It is intended to offer a path that could facilitate solar project development for companies and landowners while simultaneously creating a framework for local governments to ensure the safeguarding of local values and interests.

The template ordinance represents months of collaboration among multiple stakeholders including solar industry representatives, state government agencies, local planning communities, legal experts, and other non-profit groups. However, the project stopped deliberately short of proposing the resulting template ordinance as a prescriptive approach, suggesting its value instead as an expert guide.

“The template is a unique tool for local governments that are researching how best to design their own solar ordinance and need a model that is tailored to the state,” said Michael Fucci, Regulatory and Market Analyst for NCSEA. “It is also a ‘win’ for companies that can now rely on the template in jurisdictions where a lack of understanding of how to regulate solar development may otherwise have posed a significant barrier to entry.”

Throughout the drafting process NCSEA and NCSC provided drafts of the template to numerous jurisdictions eager to take advantage of the resource. County officials have already used the template ordinance to help them better prepare to manage commercial solar development responsibly while still maintaining the support of solar developers. In 2013 North Carolina installed more solar than 47 other states, and even more solar is expected to be installed in the state in 2014.

“Due to this solar boom, local governments across NC have significant interest in better understanding solar energy,” said Tommy Cleveland, Renewable Energy Project Coordinator at NCSC. “Now that the template ordinance is published we expect to see even greater interest and are well prepared to offer support to interested jurisdictions.”

The Template Solar Ordinance and a historical report detailing key decision points are available on the NCSEA and NCSC sites.

 

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

 

About the NC Sustainable Energy Association:

Founded in 1978, the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, government and non-profits working to ensure a sustainable future by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in North Carolina through education, public policy and economic development. Learn more at www.energync.org

 

Contact: 

Shannon Helm, NC Solar Center, Shannon_Helm@ncsu.edu, 919-423-8340

Lowell Sachs, NCSEA,  lowell@energync.org, 919-832-7601 Ext.117

 

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Template Ordinance for Solar Energy Development in North Carolina

Posted on: December 18th, 2013 by shannonhelm No Comments

 

The North Carolina Solar Center (NCSC) and the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) managed the development of this template ordinance and the organization of the drafting working group. The working group consisted of representatives of the solar industry, local NC planners, State Farm Bureau, N.C. Department of Agriculture, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), N.C. Association of County Commissioners, N.C. League of Municipalities, military, University of North Carolina School of Government, NC Conservation Network, Duke Energy Progress, North Carolina State University Forestry, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and many others. The initial draft was developed by NCSC and NCSEA in May 2013 based on a study of current North Carolina solar ordinances and available state model ordinances. Throughout the summer and fall the working group, often in the form of smaller topic-specific focus groups, worked to improve and update the existing drafts. Additionally NCSC and NCSEA hosted five public forums across the state on the development of the template ordinance. This process led to the template ordinance provided below:

 

Template Ordinance for Solar Energy Development in North Carolina

Click here for the solar ordinance template (includes executive summary, introduction, 30 stakeholders available for contact, sources of support for local governments, the template ordinance, and appendices of supporting information)

 

Letter to Membership

Letter to membership of North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, North Carolina League of Municipalities, and the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association and communities across North Carolina

 

Report on The Development of the North Carolina Template Solar Ordinance

Click here for a summary of the process of developing the ordinance and the history of changes in each section of the template.

 

UNC Student Paper on Solar Ordinance

UNC Student research paper entitled Identifying and Confronting Challenges Associated with Solar Ordinance Implementation by UNC Template Solar Ordinance Implementation Study Team.

 

Click here to read the press release announcing the ordinance.

 

N.C. Solar Center Receives SRCC Approval as Solar Thermal Collector Test Lab

Posted on: December 4th, 2013 by shannon No Comments
Becomes the fifth lab in the United States

 

Raleigh, N.C. – The Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) approved the N.C. Solar Center Test Lab to perform testing of solar thermal collectors (aka solar hot water panels) for SRCC OG-100 certification, making it just the fifth such lab in the United States. This collector certification is the market standard and is required for a residential solar hot water system to be eligible to receive the federal 30 percent renewable energy tax credit. Recently, the test lab also received ISO 17025 accreditation from A2LA, which is a quality standard for testing laboratories (similar to ISO 9000, but for testing and calibration laboratories). The accredited testing includes a series of quality and performance tests, such as a pressure test, an impact test and an efficiency test. The lab is now accepting requests from manufacturers for this accredited testing.

In addition to the accredited testing of flat plate and evacuated tube solar thermal collectors, the lab also offers a wide range of custom testing of solar thermal, as well as photovoltaic technologies. Such testing is useful to firms developing new technologies that need trusted independent performance data, or large solar purchasers looking to validate the performance and quality of a product they are considering purchasing. The lab’s capabilities range from low temperature solar air heating panels, to high temperature concentrating solar, and to field performance of photovoltaic modules and inverters. N.C. Solar Center engineers perform the testing; however the lab does offer N.C. State students opportunities to support testing and the development of new testing capabilities, such as a current mechanical engineering graduate student working to develop solar tank and heat exchanger test systems.

The N.C. Solar Center is within the College of Engineering at N.C. State University, and has performed solar product testing since the 1990’s; however this is the first time it has applied for ISO 17025 accreditation or SRCC approval. The motivation to become accredited, which required a major laboratory overhaul, came from a significant testing backlog that occurred due to expanded federal tax credits for solar, and the ensuing influx of new collectors in the U.S. market that needed testing and certification to be eligible for the tax credits. That backlog has since dissipated, but the need for testing of solar thermal collectors to verify performance and quality remains. A Green Business Fund grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce made the development of the lab possible, but required additional investment from the Center to complete the lab upgrades.

The N.C. Solar Center Test lab may be reached at solarcentertestlab@ncsu.edu or 919-513-0418. More information is available at go.ncsu.edu/solartesting.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 about the N.C. Solar Center visit: http://www.ncsc.ncsu.edu.  Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

 

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

Industry Experts, Local Officials Conclude Input on Guidance for Solar Projects

Posted on: October 29th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

Final Working Group meeting clears the path for production of a template solar ordinance

 

RALEIGH – The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) and the NC Solar Center hosted a final working group meeting on October 28, 2013 that was part of a months-long process to guide the creation of a template ordinance for solar energy projects. The template ordinance addresses some of the most common considerations that arise in the permitting of solar energy facilities. It is intended to offer a path that could facilitate solar project development for companies and landowners while simultaneously creating a framework for local governments to ensure the safeguarding of local values and interests.

At the final working group meeting solar industry representatives, legal experts, developers, local and state government officials and other stakeholders sought ways to address and incorporate the latest comments received on the template ordinance draft. Some of those comments came out of the fifth and final regional public forum that NCSEA and the Solar Center held in Charlotte, NC on October 18, 2013 to spur discussion on the topic and solicit feedback on the current draft. Through the public forums and the working group sessions, NCSEA and the Solar Center encouraged participants to identify and put forward information on solar project permitting and development that can serve as useful guidance for parties dealing with these issues, but they stopped short of proposing that the resulting template ordinance be taken as a prescriptive approach.

“The template is solely a guideline for local governments that wish to design a solar ordinance and need a model that is uniquely relevant to the state,” said Michael Fucci, Regulatory and Market Analyst for NCSEA. “The industry is assisted because companies could rely on the template in jurisdictions where a lack of understanding of how to regulate solar development could otherwise create a significant barrier to entry.

“Even before the draft template has been completed we have already seen demand for it from cities and counties developing their own solar ordinances,” noted Tommy Cleveland, Renewable Energy Project Coordinator for the NC Solar Center. “This is an early indication of the demand for a model ordinance. We hope and expect that there will be significant use of this first-of-its kind template in NC, and perhaps also in surrounding states, once the final version is published.”

The final version is expected to be published before the end of the year.

 

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

 

About the NC Sustainable Energy Association:
Founded in 1978, the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit membership organization of individuals, businesses, government and non-profits working to ensure a sustainable future by promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in North Carolina through education, public policy and economic development. Learn more at www.energync.org

 

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For Immediate Release – October 29, 2013
Contact: Lowell Sachs, lowell@energync.org, 919-832-7601 Ext.117
Shannon Helm, Shannon_helm@ncsu.edu, 919-423-8340

A North Carolina Template Solar Ordinance Being Developed by NC Stakeholders

Posted on: August 27th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

In July, 2008 the North Carolina Wind Working Group, a coalition of state government, non-profit and wind industry organizations, published a model wind ordinance for NC to provide guidance for communities planning for potential wind energy development.  Seven years later a similar group is working on a model (or template) ordinance for solar.  Solar systems are nothing new in the state, but the size and number of systems being installed recently is something quite new. Today in communities across North Carolina there are small and large solar energy systems being installed every month, or even every day. Some cities and counties across the state have solar specific ordinances defining how and where solar systems may be developed and permitted in the jurisdiction, but many other locations do not,  which can make it unclear how, and even if, a solar system may be installed in that jurisdiction. A template ordinance provides a consensus starting point for any city or county in the state looking to establish or update a solar ordinance. Having a model ordinance reduces the burden on the local staff to research and draft new ordinance language, and encourages a degree of consistency across the state.

The NC Solar Center and the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) partnered this spring to help develop this important template ordinance and have made good progress through the summer.  So far, regional forums have been held in Raleigh, Greensboro and Asheville to inform people know about the process and collect input on what stakeholders would like to have included in the template. There are two additional forums planned, in Lumberton on Sept. 24, and in Charlotte on Oct. 18. Each of these events will be a way for interested parties to learn about solar development in North Carolina, and provide input on the current draft of the template.

A very broad range of stakeholders are active in two working groups (solar industry and everyone else) who have been drafting the ordinance this summer. Their members include solar developers/installers, city and county planners and zoning administrators, state agencies, environmental organizations, military, city/county organizations, forestry organizations, agriculture organizations, and others. Each working group has met twice, each time editing the latest version of the ordinance. This process has produced a current draft generally agreeable to both groups.

We are now moving to the next phase of drafting, which will occur in three focus groups each made up of members of the two working groups.  These smaller groups will dive deeper into the details of three core components of the ordinance; aesthetic related topics, abandonment/decommissioning, and permitting. Following the initial meetings of the focus groups, the two existing working groups will combine to form the N.C. Template Solar Ordinance Working Group. Using all the input collected, this group will finalize the drafting of the template ordinance this fall.

The final template ordinance will be completed in October and available at the NCSEA Making Energy Work conference November 5-6 at the Raleigh Convention Center.  This document will represent the consensus of a broad range of stakeholders with interest in solar development and its impacts in North Carolina, and thus be a very valuable starting point for local solar ordinances from Murphy to Manteo.

Contact Tommy Cleveland, Renewable Energy Project Coordinator at Tommy_Cleveland@ncsu.edu or 919-515-9432   or Miriam Makhyoun, Manager of Market Intelligence, NC Sustainable Energy Association at Miriam@energync.org or (919)-832-7601 x114 for more information.

Development of a template solar ordinance for North Carolina

Posted on: June 20th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

The N.C. Solar Center in collaboration with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is bringing together stakeholders to help develop a template solar ordinance for North Carolina. Ground mounted solar systems, often referred to as “solar farms”, are being installed with increasing regularity across the state, however the majority of jurisdictions do not have a development ordinance that explicitly covers such solar systems, thereby creating uncertainty about the permitting process. The eventual product of this effort will be the Southeast’s first-of-its-kind guide for harmonizing the elements included in the permitting of solar energy facilities, offering a path that could facilitate solar project development for companies and landowners while simultaneously creating a framework for the inclusion of local values and interests.  To assist with creating this template ordinance, both the N.C. Solar Center and NCSEA are hosting several forums to discuss current stakeholder issues.  There are several ways to become engaged in the template development process: attend local public forums, provide input online, and join the stakeholder working group.

The kick-off forum was held on May 31st at the N.C. Museum of Natural Science’s Nature Research Center, where state and local officials, local landowners, legal experts, and clean energy business representatives shared views and offered insights regarding solar development.   “The Solar Development and Siting forums bring together a wide cross section of stakeholders to discuss the issues and challenges facing solar projects, with the goal of developing a template solar ordinance for North Carolina that can be adapted and adopted by counties and municipalities across the state”, said Tommy Cleveland, Solar Engineer with the N.C. Solar Center.

Subsequent meetings are planned for Greensboro (June 27), Asheville (August 8), Lumberton (August 20th), and a final forum to be held in Charlotte in late October. Each event is a chance to engage in discussions about solar development in North Carolina. In addition to hearing from stakeholders at these forums, stakeholders will be able to make suggestions for the ordinance, as well as vote and comment on the suggestions of other stakeholders. This opportunity for open stakeholder engagement is available through early August. The input from this online tool will inform the stakeholder working group, made up of key stakeholders representing the interests of landowners, county and city planners, solar industry, agriculture, and many others.

For more information about the forums, participation in the stakeholder working group, or the development of the template solar ordinance for North Carolina please contact.

 

Tommy Cleveland at 919.515.9432, Tommy_Cleveland@ncsu.edu.

 

Or

 

Miriam Makhyoun, NCSEA, 919.832.7601×114, Miriam@energync.org.

U.S. Solar Market Insight Q1 2013

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

The latest Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Solar Market Insight™ report for Q1 2013 details a total of 8.5 gigawatts of solar electric capacity operating in the U.S (PV+CSP).

That’s enough solar energy to power more than 1.3 million average U.S. households.

Download the FREE Executive Summary now.

A few key facts from the report include:

 

  • The U.S. installed 723 megawatts (MW) in Q1 2013, which accounted for over 48 percent of all new electric capacity installed in the U.S. last quarter. Overall, these installations represent the best first quarter of any given year for the industry.

 

  • California installed more new solar PV on residential homes than ever before.

 

  • In Arizona, 86% of all residential PV installed in Q1 2013 was installed through third-party ownership systems, like solar leasing.

 

To hear more of the report results firsthand, please join SEIA and GTM Research on Thursday, June 27 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for a free webinar. We’ll cover key report findings and what they mean for the industry. Register now.

Get the Executive Summary now, or purchase the full report to get more detail on the findings.

 

Governor McCrory proclaims June solar energy month in North Carolina

Posted on: June 4th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

 

Raleigh, NC– Governor Pat McCrory announced today that he has proclaimed June as Solar Energy Month in North Carolina, stressing the role the growing industry is playing in creating jobs and helping make our state and nation energy independent.

“North Carolina is home to one of the fastest growing solar industries in our nation,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “It is important that we recognize the impact the solar industry is making in our state, not only in terms of being another valuable piece to an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan, but also the high-quality jobs the industry creates for hardworking North Carolinians.”

Governor McCrory was joined by Strata Solar CEO Markus Wilhelm for the proclamation announcement at Strata Solar in Willow Spring, North Carolina.

The solar energy sector is expanding throughout the state, with solar farms, plants, manufacturing equipment for the solar industry, and workers installing and maintaining both large and small scale solar facilities creating critical jobs for North Carolinians. North Carolina currently has more than 500 companies working in the solar industry, and they employ about 2,000 workers.

Since 2007, more than $743 million has been invested in the solar industry, creating jobs and providing solar photovoltaic development and infrastructure.  Today more than 229 megawatts of solar energy are currently installed throughout North Carolina – sixth in the nation.

Click here to view and download a copy of the proclamation.

Verizon to spend $100M on solar panels, fuel cells for facilities

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

Verizon is making its largest commitment to clean power to date with a planned $100 million investment into installing solar panels and fuel cells at its facilities. The company joins the league of Apple and Google with its aggressive investments in distributed, renewable energy.

Telecom giant Verizon is expected to announce on Tuesday that it plans to spend $100 million on clean power projects, including installing solar panels and fuel cells at 19 locations to help power its buildings and network infrastructure. Verizon’s Chief Sustainability Officer James Gowen plans to make the announcement at Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference on Tuesday.

Verizon plans to buy fuel cells from ClearEdge Power and solar panels from SunPower. The amount of power from the solar panels and fuel cells, which will be installed across seven states, will be 70 million kilowatt hours of electricity. That’s enough to power 6,000 homes per year.

Fuel cells look like industrial refrigerators, and they use a chemical reaction to produce electricity and heat. They are filled with large stacks that are lined with catalysts (a metal, sometimes platinum), and a fuel (commonly natural gas) is inserted in one side and runs over the stack. Electricity and heat flow out the other side. The benefits of fuel cells are that the electricity can be created on site where it is used, and if the fuel used is biogas, then the electricity is also free of carbon emissions.

Verizon has been using a small amount of solar and fuel cell technology for awhile, but this move represents the company’s largest commitment to clean power projects to date. Verizon is looking to cut its carbon emissions footprint substantially by 2020.

 

Gowen told me in an interview that this initiative is being driven both by the desire to add energy resiliency to Verizon’s facilities as well as the company’s sustainability goals. During superstorm Sandy, a fuel cell installation that Verizon had in Long Island that powered a switching station (using fuel cells from UTC Power, which was acquired by ClearEdge Power) never went down. Gowen said he wanted that type of off-grid resiliency through out Verizon’s facilities.

All of the solar panel installations in 2013 will be pretty large ones. For example, Verizon is putting solar panels on the roof of a data center in New Jersey, as well as on the ground next to the data center. The return on investment for the combined clean power projects is supposed to be around ten years, said Gowen.

Deploying clean power technologies — both solar panels and fuel cells — at data centers is a growing trend for internet and telecom companies in the U.S. Apple (a AAPL), Google, eBay, and Microsoft are all deploying clean power at data centers to help add off grid resiliency, as well as lower carbon emissions.

Apple is building its own solar panel farms and fuel cell farms at its data center in Maiden, North Carolina. Google has spent over a $1 billion investing in clean power projects and recently started working with Duke Energy on a clean power initiative in North Carolina. AT&T has large fuel cell farms powering its operations in California and Connecticut, using technology from Bloom Energy.

In a call last week, ClearEdge Power’s CEO David Wright called Verizon’s commitment to clean power technology “a stake in the ground for other technology companies.”

 

By: GIGAOM