Renewable energy generators have channeled hundreds of millions of kilowatt hours into the North Carolina power grid. That's since the NC GreenPower program was founded 10 years ago.
The initiative collects donations from companies, citizens and utility customers to buy renewable energy and diversify the state's power grid.
NC Solar Center Director Steve Kalland is on the board for NC GreenPower. He said the program has also helped utilities warm up to renewable power providers.
“In essence, N-C Green Power was the training wheels for the North Carolina Renewable energy market,” Kalland said.
He said the program also laid the groundwork for utilities to actually give renewable resources, like solar power, a chance.
“Solar was, you know, much more expensive 10 years ago than it is today,” Kalland said. “And at that time, there wasn't a lot of it that went onto the grid. There wasn't a lot of experience with things like how to interconnect renewable resources.”
Kalland said technological advances have helped make solar energy cheaper over time, but it was NC GreenPower that helped establish rules for home and industrial solar producers to connect with the grid. This standardization made solar energy more accessible as a power resource.