From renewables to energy efficiency, clean energy offers a variety of employment opportunities for our state. North Carolina is home to more than 43,239 clean energy jobs, which has been increasing in recent years. What’s more, those who might struggle to find temporary work in rural areas now have more access to good paying jobs, such as those in solar farm construction and operation.
North Carolina continues to operate under a monopoly energy market. The introduction of clean energy into our limited market has been vital in keeping our rates lower than they would be with only traditional energy sources powering our homes and businesses. Many renewable sources are now approaching cost parity with conventional and unconventional natural gas. The price of solar generation is now cheaper. And these prices are projected to continue falling. This is just one reason why homeowners, businesses, and utilities across the country are getting on board with renewables – and quickly. Add in the fact that fuel prices, unlike solar and wind, can fluctuate in price at a moment’s notice, clean energy is a no-brainer.Continuing to nurture our growing clean energy economy is crucial for our effort to keep rates down in the long-term.
Clean energy investments are a hedge against variable fuel costs – which could rise again at a moment’s notice. Because clean energy sources like solar and energy efficiency technologies don’t rely on fuel, there is much more price certainty. Clean energy generation increasesstate energy resiliency and securityas more energy is produced inside the state and does not need to be imported from other states or countries.Bonus: unlike traditional, fossil-fuel powered sources, the price of renewables continues to decrease – even as the technology improves.
Clean energy policies like the now-expired NC Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC), and federal Investment Tax Credit, have benefited all electric ratepayers in North Carolina – not just those who’ve taken advantage of credits to finance their projects. In fact, as of 2016 these investments across many rural and underserved communities statewide returned $1.64 for every $1 of REITC incentive to the local economy.
Yes, it can. Before any wind energy projects that may potentially affect military operations can be approved for construction, the projects must be cleared by the stringent review process administered by the US Department of Defense Military Aviation and Installation Assurance Siting Clearinghouse. Existing state law in N.C. and federal law also requires the Base Commander at major military installations to be consulted on all wind energy projects, making it among the most strict policies nationwide.
Over the past five years, the US DOD Clearinghouse has reviewed more than 3,200 proposed wind developments. Most were found not to impact military operations. In the cases where a potential adverse impact was identified, the Clearinghouse has acted to protect the military mission by negotiating agreements with developers to make the planned development compatible with military operations..
Clean energy policies, like the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), make up less than $1 on most customers’ average $100+ monthly bill. Taking into account this REPS charge, North Carolina customers saved approximately $8 on their 2014 electric bills. And these charges are also keeping our future bills down: a 2015 report estimates $651 million will be saved by 2029, thanks to clean energy’s presence in our energy mix.
There are many options for owning, purchasing, or supportingsolar generation in the state. Check out NCSEA’s ncsolarconsumerguide.comfor more information on the options for owning solar. If owning solar PV doesn’t fit your needs, community solar may be a great alternative. Depending on the community solar facility organization, multiple community members can obtain financial benefit and/or power from a subscription, or own a portion of the system. Find out more about this option on NCSEA’s Community Solar page. Many electricity providers also offer renewable energy options through your current bill.Ask your electricity provider what renewable energy options are available.
This is a common misconception. Although North Carolina is second in the nation for installed solar capacity, solar farms here occupy just 0.2% of total North Carolina cropland. And the Amazon East Wind Farm’s 104 turbines will occupy less than 208 acres.
Good news – many farmers and land-owners can keep their properties farmable, even when there is clean energy like solar installed on it. By leasing a portion of land for solar, landowners gain a steady stream of income, and as a result, can keep the land in its original form during hard economic times. For example, Sun Raised Farms showcases agriculture and solar working harmoniously together. This collection of farmers raises sheep to maintain the grounds of solar farms. A win-win!
Solar panel materials are enclosed and don’t mix with water or vaporize into the air – meaning there is no threat of chemicals releasing into the environment during normal use. In addition, the panels are manufactured to endure all weather conditions and are sealed shut to further ensure public safety. Almost all solar PV panels are made of tempered glass, pass rigorous hail tests, and are regularly installed in Arctic and Antarctic conditions.
Need some help deciphering clean energy terms and acronyms? Head over to NCSEA's glossary to find out more.