- Grid-connected solar in North Carolina grew 127% between 2010 and 2013, from 40 megawatts to 469 megawatts. It is on place to provide 20% of the state’s electricity, according to a new report from Environment North Carolina.
- Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in North Carolina reports that North Carolina was tenth among U.S. states for cumulative installed solar electric capacity at the end of 2013 and has the potential to produce over 30 times the state' annual electricity use.
- Obtaining 20% of its power from solar would be equivalent to taking 4.5 million cars off the state's roadways, the environmental group said in its report. It would meet three-quarters of North Carolina's EPA-imposed Clean Power Plan requirement to cut 40% of its electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
North Carolina’s solar growth was produced by its 12.5% by 2021 renewables mandate, which contains a 0.2% solar requirement, and by a state 30% tax credit for solar that supplements the 30% federal investment tax credit. But, according to Environment North Carolina Clean Energy Associate Maya Gold, the legislature is not expected to extend the state tax credit when it expires at the end of 2015.
Policies that would support North Carolina’s solar sector without increasing taxes, Gold said, include increasing the renewables mandate and its solar carve out, making the net metering law more comprehensive, and legalizing solar leasing.
Solar advocates see Duke Energy as impeding policy innovation. “Duke will not allow solar leasing or community-owned solar,” NC WARN Energy Policy Specialist Nancy LaPlaca told Utility Dive. “Duke wants to build a $4.5 billion fracked gas pipeline. North Carolina imports $2-3 billion worth of coal and natural gas every year. We don’t want fracked gas, we want more solar.”