The solar market in North Carolina is slowly but surely picking up steam, thanks in part to a number of state- and utility-sponsored initiatives. North Carolina homeowners, for instance, may take a state tax credit worth up to 35 percent of installed solar energy system costs, up to $10,500. Add to that the 30-percent tax credit available from the federal government, and the cost of installing solar panels may be considerably reduced.
If you've noodled around on the Web looking for information on residential solar energy systems, you may have come across something called a "Solar Renewable Energy Credit" -- or SREC (pronounced "S wreck") for short. Since SRECs help make solar panels a great investment in some states, we figured it might be helpful to explain what these credits are and how they work.
The quick answer: solar power can be cheaper than nuclear power. It just depends how you plan to use it.
The state of North Carolina has set a renewable energy standard that requires all of the state's utilities to meet a minimum percentage customers' electricity needs with clean, renewable energy by 2021. Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, is taking the first steps toward meeting this goal, which for investor-owned utilities is 12.5 percent.
This week, the military housing manufacturer Actus Lend Lease and FSL Energy announced that they have teamed to add solar hot water heating systems -- also called solar thermal systems -- to 900 homes at the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The project, already underway, is the biggest solar thermal initiative in the continental United States.
In an effort to invest more money in green technology and create more jobs in the renewable energy sector, North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue this week announced the state has invested another $4.9 million dollars for North Carolina's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Program.
The North Carolina Global TransPark (GTP), a 2,500-acre industrial park located 80 miles southeast of Raleigh, will join the state's campaign to develop and use renewable energy by installing solar panels atop one of its buildings this summer.
For over twenty years, the North Carolina Solar Center has been providing free information, research, technical assistance and training to those interested in solar and other types of renewable energy. Through their programs, they've educated tens of thousands and have had a positive, material impact on the solar energy industry.
A number of U.S. states require electricity providers to derive a minimum percentage of their power from renewable sources by a certain date. Such a requirement is often referred to a renewable portfolio standard, or RPS. Currently, 24 states, plus the District of Columbia have formalized RPSs in place, while five other states have legislated more informal goals aimed at promoting the adoption of renewable power. The Department of Energy provides a useful RPS summary map.
As I outlined about a month ago, Progress Energy has recently expanded its solar rebate and incentive programs. Beyond a new residential solar rebate worth up to $2.00/watt, the North Carolina-based utility has launched a commercial solar program called SunSense Commercial Solar PV. Details on the incentive structure have recently been made available. Here.