Solar Energy

Environment
7:52 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Solar Business Is Booming In NC, But For How Long?

A house in Cary, NC with rooftop solar panels.
Credit Yes Solar Solutions

The small warehouse and loading area in the back of the Yes! Solar Solutions building in Cary is empty. And that’s a good thing. On this bright, sunny Fall day, it means all the crews are out on jobs, installing solar panels on houses.

Kathy Miller and her husband Stew started the company in 2009, after selling the Primrose Schools of Cary. They could have done almost anything at that point, but decided to throw their future into solar energy.

Turns out, the pre-school business and the solar business aren’t all that different.

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Environment
6:14 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Big Tech May Determine Fate Of Renewable Energy In NC

Apple's solar farm in Maiden, NC.
Credit Apple

When Apple makes an announcement – any announcement – the world stops and listens. And while it wasn’t a new product launch, when Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke last month ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, it was a big deal.

“We have a huge data center in Maiden North Carolina,” Cook said. “There were no options to buy renewable energy. Our only way to do that, was to build it.”

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Environment
4:00 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Big Energy Changes Could Be Coming To NC

Seismic testing for oil could occur off the North Carolina coast in 2017.
Credit Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The days of oil rigs off the coast of the Outer Banks is still many years away, if it ever comes. But the state of North Carolina is already making plans that will allow oil companies to use seismic imaging to search for possible oil reserves.

Donald Van der Vaart, the Energy Policy Advisor with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, told the North Carolina Energy Policy Council that seismic testing was last done off the coast of North Carolina in the 1980s.

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Environment
7:06 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Duke Energy Invests Big In Solar

Strata Solar of Chapel Hill is one of the contractors working with Duke Energy.
Credit Strata Solar

Duke Energy is investing $500 million in solar power generation in North Carolina.

Three new large-scale solar facilities will be built in Bladen, Wilson, and Duplin Counties. The 65 megawatt facility in Duplin will be the largest solar plant east of the Mississippi.

Due to a state law passed in 2007, Duke and other utilities must source at least 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.

“We choose solar today because solar is the cheapest renewable energy certificate available to us,” said Duke Energy Vice President Rob Caldwell.

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Business & Economy
7:28 am
Fri August 29, 2014

A Solar Bright Spot In The NC Economy

The Erwin Solar Farm in Harnett County has operating life of over 30 years.
Credit Strata Solar

Strata Solar has constructed more than 60 clean energy projects across North Carolina, and they hosted a ribbon-cutting Thursday.

It’s just another example of how fast the solar sector is growing in the state.

Betsy McCorkle is Director of Government Relations for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association.  She says solar represents $1.5 billion in investments across North Carolina, and growing.

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Politics & Government
8:43 am
Tue July 8, 2014

NC Utilities Commission Reconsiders Solar Energy Cost, Possibly Affecting Industry's Future

The construction of a photovoltaic array at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY.
Credit Brookhaven National Laboratory

Environmental groups say hearings underway in Raleigh could determine whether North Carolina’s solar energy industry continues to grow at a rapid pace.

North Carolina has recently become one of the country’s top solar states. It’s number four, after California, Arizona and New Jersey.

Duke Energy and Dominion Power are required to make or buy certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources, including solar, wind and hog and poultry waste. The state utilities commission is reviewing how much energy companies should have to pay for that energy.

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Business & Economy
8:35 am
Mon January 27, 2014

NC GreenPower Celebrates 10 Years Of Increasing Access To Renewable Energy

Over the past 10 years, NC Green Power has used donations to increase the amount of renewable energy in the state's power grid.
Credit NCSU/CSE

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. 

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Science & Technology
7:19 am
Thu January 16, 2014

UNC Researchers Convert Solar Energy Into Fuel

The new system generates fuel by using the sun's energy to split water into its component parts - storing hydrogen, releasing oxygen.
Credit Yan Liang / Energy Frontier Research Center UNC-Chapel Hill

The Frontier Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill has built a system that converts solar energy into fuel, so power can be used even after the sun sets.  The US Department of Energy is funding the research.

Instead of storing solar electricity in an expensive battery, researchers use the sun's energy to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen.  Two of the Center's papers about the process were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Solar Center
8:15 am
Fri December 27, 2013

NC Solar Center Can Now Certify Systems For Tax Breaks

The NC Solar Center can now test manufactured solar panels according to international quality standards, and can offer SRCC certification.
Credit Marc Hall / North Carolina State University

The North Carolina Solar Center has become the fifth lab in the country approved to test solar hot water panels to the market standard.

The federal government requires home solar water heating systems to have Solar Rating and Certification Corporation—or SRCC—certification in order to be eligible for a 30-percent tax credit.

The Center has also been recently accredited to test efficiency and calibrate panels according to international standards.

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Environment
7:56 am
Thu December 5, 2013

North Carolina's Energy Jobs, Energy Future

A "Strata Solar" solar farm in Cleveland County, NC.
Credit Strata Solar

Policy-makers and business leaders say North Carolina’s economic future relies on energy.

Governor Pat McCrory was one of many speakers and panelists at the North Carolina Chamber's Energy Conference at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham.  McCrory said it’s time to follow the economic recoveries of Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Dakotas.

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