Solar Energy

One of Progress Energy's solar energy farms.
Duke Energy/Progress Energy

North Carolina’s solar energy industry has garnered much success in recent years – from solar panels to solar farms. 

One of Progress Energy's solar energy farms.
Duke Energy/Progress Energy

The North Carolina utility company Progress Energy is among the nations leaders in solar production. Last year the utility company produced almost 70 megawatts of new solar generating capacity. The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) says that’s the 8th highest output of all U.S. utility companies.

solar panels
Strata Solar

A North Carolina renewable energy company says it plans to build a large solar farm in Duplin County.  Strata Solar announced yesterday it's developing 400 acres of land for solar panels with a capacity of 100 Megawatts.  It's one of the largest solar farms in production on the east coast.  Strata CEO Markus Wilhelm says his company will file its plans with the state Utilities Commission by the end of the month.

Dominion North Carolina Power plans to study the prospect of wind and solar energy on the Outer Banks for small-scale power grids.  The utility is launching a three-year research project at its office in Kitty Hawk. The plans include four wind turbines, solar panels and a storage battery that will work to reduce the amount of power the office pulls from the grid.  Project manager Sarah Cosby says that network creates a so-called micro-grid that could be useful for small communities during power outages.

A North Carolina research firm says it's taken a significant step toward making solar energy a widely-marketable source of electricity. RTI International says its new solar cells use an ink-like material produced at much lower cost than traditional silicon panels. Jay Lewis is a senior research scientist with the RTP nonprofit.

Mayberry Solar Farm in Mt. Airy
o2energies.com

Mt. Airy is now the site of a 1.2 megawatt solar farm capable of producing power to the equivalent of about 150 homes per year. John Morrison is Chief Operating Oficer for Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar.

Experts on solar energy are converging in Raleigh today for a conference designed to help expand the development of new technology. Siemens Industry is partnering with the North Carolina Solar Center for "Solar Exchange East" at North Carolina State University. Stephen Kalland is Executive Director for the North Carolina Solar Center. He says the conference will cover a number of issues.

A Durham company is planning to build a plant in Henderson that will produce one-of-a-kind solar modules. 

Guilford County is in the running for a massive solar power project.

National Solar Power of Melbourne, Florida has selected seven finalists for what it says will be the “world’s largest solar farm” – and Guilford County is on the list.  Gail Vadia is a spokeswoman for the Greensboro Partnership – a community and economic development organization in Guilford County. She says National Solar Power has already been in contact with land-owners.

Solar energy industry leaders are gathered in Raleigh for a 5 day national conference. It's the 40th year for the National Solar Conference held by the American Solar Energy Society. This year it's being held at the Raleigh Convention Center. The public is invited to the final day of the conference this Saturday.

One of the biggest solar farms on the east coast is now generating power for customers of Duke Energy. The joint project with Sun Edison is located in Davidson County. Jason Walls works for Duke Energy. He says the facility will generate enough electricity to power 26-hundred homes.

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