NC Sustainable Energy Association


Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Jobs Continue to Grow in NC

November 9, 2011 3:54 PM | Posted By: Amneris Solano & Paul Quinlan, Deputy Director & Strategic Projects & Rich Crowley, Director of Market Research & Spatial Analysis

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina continues to recover from one of the longest recessions in our nation’s history – marked by ongoing high unemployment. Retaining jobs and fostering economic development has become a priority for businesses, policymakers and residents across the state. Since the passage of the Southeast’s first renewable energy and energy efficiency law in 2007, the clean energy sectors – broadly categorized as renewable energy and energy efficiency – have burst onto the scene and are found in every region of the state.


North Carolina boasts an international smart grid cluster, two of the 50 fastest growing companies in the nation (both are renewable energy companies), and regional initiatives, including the Evolve Energy Partnership, Charlotte New Energy Capital and the Research Triangle CleanTech Cluster.

These assets are supported by a diverse sector with industry activities across all major focus areas. In only a few short years, the clean energy sector has become a North Carolina success story and a valued component of our state’s economic landscape.

These and other findings are outlined in the 2011 Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Industries Census. The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSESA) presented the Census during its annual Making Energy Work conference on Wednesday Nov. 9 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

“One of the key findings of the 2011 census is that the clean energy sector in North Carolina is really a statewide sector. While we do find concentrations of specific technologies like Smart Grid in the Research Triangle, we have found that in addition to the major city hubs like Charlotte and Raleigh, there is an ever-increasing physical presence of firms in the clean energy sector in areas like Hickory, Boone and other areas,” said Rich Crowley, Manager of Market Research & Spatial Analysis for the NC Sustainable Energy Association. “It is important to note that this is using a conservative metric – companies are actually reporting these locations. Unlike national surveys that use large top down database approaches, the NCSEA industry clean energy sector maps are locations that companies are verifying in 2011. In short, there is much more certainty and accuracy with the NCSEA maps since it’s coming directly from industry.”

Since 2008, (NCSEA) has conducted this annual statewide Census of firms identified as operating in the clean energy sector, with the intent of documenting ongoing employment trends and industry dynamics across key business activities and focuses. (Clean energy sectors included in the Census are: renewable energy, energy efficiency, high performance building, smart grid, and electric vehicles.) The North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Industries Census and the resulting annual publication are a unique undertaking found nowhere else in the nation.

The 2011 Census shows that employment in the North Carolina clean energy sector continued to grow – although at a slower pace than the 20 percent firms anticipated in 2010. There are more than 1,000 firms employing 14,800 (full-time equivalent) employees in more than 2,000 physical offices across 87 North Carolina counties.

Key Findings of 2011 Industries Census:

  •         North Carolina’s clean energy sector accounts for 14,800 full time equivalent (FTE) employees in 2011.
  •          In 2011, the clean energy sector conservatively generated more than $3.1 billion in North Carolina annual gross revenue.
  •          North Carolina’s clean energy sector grew by 18.4 percent
  •          NCSEA conservatively estimates that at least 1,084 firms are currently conducting business in the clean energy sector in 2011.
  •          Firms maintained a physical office in 87 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
  •          Wake, Mecklenburg and Buncombe counties all reported more than 200 clean energy firm offices within county limits.
  •          The North Carolina market was the final destination for the majority of firms’ services and products.

The 2011 NC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Industries Census is the fourth annual publication produced by NCSEA. To view information on previous publications, click here. To download the complete report  click here.