NC Sustainable Energy Association

NCSEA Publications

A Citizens Guide to the NC REPS

NC's Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard

In August 2007, North Carolina adopted a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) with the passage of Senate Bill 3.

In doing so, North Carolina became the 25th state ― and the first in the Southeast ― to enact such a policy. North Carolina’s REPS law requires the state’s electric power providers to generate a portion of our electricity needs through renewable energy resources and energy efficiency.

In an effort to help individuals, businesses, government, nonprofits and others understand our state's REPS law


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Legislative Guide

An overview of legislation related to clean energy

NCSEA first published our annual legislative guide in 2005, and in some years it has been read by more than 15,000 people. Annually, this guide reaches over 10,000 citizens, playing a vital role in educating the public about pending and recent legislation concerning: renewable energy, energy efficiency and high performance buildings, energy and economic development, climate change, and other energy sources. The guide also explains how a bill becomes a law, and overviews the form and function of the NC Utilities Commission.


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Levelized Cost of Solar Photovoltaics in North Carolina

Solar Costs Drop as Conventional Energy Prices Continue to Rise

NCSEA's latest study “Levelized Cost of Solar Photovoltaics in North Carolina” shows that conventional electricity costs for North Carolina residents and businesses have increased by an annual average of approximately 3 percent over the past decade. And that all the while, the national trend for the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and their subcomponents has declined by 37 percent from 2008 to 2010. The installed cost per watt (W) of solar PV in North Carolina has also decreased from $8.50/W to $5.44/W from 2006 to 2011. In all, that is a 36 percent drop in price, making solar power more accessible in our state.

“The cost of solar power has continued to drop making it a more competitive and viable energy resource,” said Carrie Cullen Hitt, vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association — the national trade association of the U.S. solar industry. “As the demand for electricity grows, so does the need for new sources of energy. This is a dynamic time for the solar industry which has the potential to satisfy a good portion of that demand.”

As a result, solar companies have experienced a spike in business allowing them to undertake more projects that create jobs, stimulate the economy and make solar electricity more affordable to a wider variety of consumers. As of Sept. 30, 2011, North Carolina ranked 8th in the U.S. for cumulative installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity.  And as of Oct. 31, 2011, there were 1,142 solar PV systems totaling over 128 megawatts (MW DC) of capacity registered with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) to be installed in the state between 2006 and 2011. These systems range in capacity from residential systems to one of the largest solar projects on the East Coast located in Davidson County. Driving the growth of solar PV system installations are the declining installation costs and North Carolina's policy environment.

“Solar electricity continues to improve in efficiency and cost as a viable energy resource well into the future,” said Miriam Makhyoun, the study’s primary author and NCSEA’s Solar & Renewable Energy Industry Specialist.

Key findings from the “Levelized Cost of Solar Photovoltaics in North Carolina”

  •  For many electric utilities, solar PV systems greater than 10 kW with federal and state tax credits were at grid parity in North Carolina in 2011.
  • For all North Carolina electric utilities, solar PV systems greater than 500 kW with federal and state tax credits achieve grid parity or become cost competitive with commercial retail electricity prices in 2015.
  • For all North Carolina electric utilities, solar PV systems greater than 10 kW through 500 kW with federal and state tax credits achieve grid parity or become cost competitive with commercial retail electricity prices in 2018.
  • For the majority of North Carolina electric utilities, solar PV systems 10 kW or less taking federal and state tax credits achieve grid parity or become cost competitive with residential retail electricity prices in 2020.
  • For many electric utilities, solar PV without federal and state tax credits will be at grid parity or cost competitive with retail electricity prices in North Carolina in 2020.

Download NCSEA's "Levelized Cost of Solar Photovoltaics in North Carolina" to read the complete report.


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NC Clean Energy Data Book

Clean Energy Economy Resources, Projects & Jobs

What is North Carolina’s clean energy economy – and what does it encompass?  What are our state’s clean energy resources, installed projects, business and job creation opportunities, and what regions of our state are leading the way?  The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) has compiled all of this valuable information and much more into the first-ever 2011 NC Clean Energy Data Book.

The NC Clean Energy Data Book explores existing and potential clean energy (ex. renewable energy and energy efficiency) infrastructure and opportunities in every region of our state.  With over 100 maps, charts, and tables, the Clean Energy Data Book is the first comprehensive North Carolina clean energy landscape overview of its kind.  This new resource helps to evaluate and understand how the different and unique elements of this rapidly growing industry fit together to provide more than 14,800 full time equivalent jobs and economic opportunities for our citizens. North Carolina continues to be one of the leading clean energy states in the Southeast – and becoming a national leader in several areas such as smart grid and solar.

Click here to download the full report.


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NCSEA Annual Reports

Annual Reports

Across North Carolina, NCSEA's members, staff and Board of Directors are changing how we use, generate and think about energy. NCSEA works over-time to keep our State ahead of our Southeastern peers in almost every aspect of renewable energy, energy efficiency and high-performance building. Our intent is to provide North Carolina with a clean, secure, affordable and prosperous energy future. Read our latest annual report or browse past editions to learn more.


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North Carolina Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Industries Census

NC Clean Energy Economy Census

The 2013 North Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census quantifies the clean energy industry’s presence and performance within the state’s economy. NCSEA created the Census, a first of its kind nationally, to help measure the impact of North Carolina’s clean energy policies and identify where policy is and is not achieving the results that policymakers, economic developers and industry members envisioned. Presenting analysis on employment, revenues, geographic presence, export activity, business hurdles, and growth potential in the industry, the Census has become an invaluable resource for stakeholders around the state and beyond.

Since the first Census Report in 2008, the clean energy industry has continued to experience rapid growth in North Carolina with annual increases in the number of firms, revenues and employment. The 2013 Census paints a picture of a robust clean energy sector with firms having office locations throughout the state and within all economic regions. According to the Census, the clean energy industry experienced significant job growth in 2013, currently employing 18,404 full-time equivalent employees in North Carolina, up more than 20% from 2012. Respondents to the Census also reported approximately $3.6 billion in gross revenues. 

Download NCSEA's "2013 North Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census" to read the complete report.


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Template Solar Energy Development Ordinance for North Carolina

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

New Guidance on Permitting Provides Boon for Local Governments, Solar Developers
Template solar ordinance offers adaptable roadmap for solar energy development with a local twist

The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) and the NC Solar Center (NCSC) today released a Template Solar Energy Development Ordinance. 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.

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 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

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 


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The Economic Impact Analysis of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina

New Report Shows Clean Energy Has Positive Impact on North Carolina’s Economy

RTI International, a leading national research institute, released a new study, The Economic Impact Analysis of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina, that reveals sizeable contributions that clean energy development is making to the North Carolina economy. The analysis also focuses specifically on the clean energy policies that have had a proven positive economic impact in the state.

The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) commissioned the group to conduct an independent analysis focused on key clean energy policy drivers and the economic and fiscal impacts that result. The study found that the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), renewable energy investment tax credit, and Utility Savings Initiative were significant drivers of clean energy development in North Carolina.

 

Click here to download a copy of the full energy study.

Click here to download a copy of the summary findings.


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Understanding the Impact of Electric Generation Choices on North Carolina Electricity Rates

Residential Electric Rate Report

Given increased public interest regarding electricity costs in the wake of Duke Energy’s recent proposal to increase residential electric rates by over 17 percent, NCSEA examined North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) dockets to objectively evaluate the role of electric utilities’ energy resource choices as drivers of electric rate increases in North Carolina over the past decade, focusing largely on how much recent rate changes have been due to fossil and nuclear fuel costs, new coal and natural gas power plants, and compliance with North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).

Click here to read the full report


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