Archive for 2011

Green Job Training in the Southeast

Posted on: August 30th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

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Recently, it seems that every politician has the exact same top three priorities: Jobs, Jobs and Jobs. Some of those jobs can come in the form of green jobs. Green jobs vary from manufacturing and construction to sales and consulting. Apollo Alliance, a coalition of business, labor and environmental groups championing green employment defines a green job as: “paying decent wages and benefits that can support a family. It has to be part of a real career path, with upward mobility. And it needs to reduce waste and pollution and benefit the environment.”

Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division, Labor Market Information Section, Green Jobs Study, Spring 2011Distribution of Green Jobs in Tennessee. Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Employment Security Division, Labor Market Information Section, Green Jobs Study, Spring 2011 

Sold on green jobs but not sure where to start? Several colleges and organizations offer quick training in the field of your choice and some manufacturing companies partner with neighboring colleges to train future employees. Listed below are just a few upcoming green job training opportunities here in the Southeast:

One-day, weekend, or week-long workshops:

North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification is highly recommended for individuals pursuing employment in solar PV, solar thermal, and small wind installation fields. Several Southeastern groups provide the training necessary for the NABCEP tests, as well as other certifications. If you are interested in certification, here are some non-degree training programs to check out:

  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.)- ASU’s 2011 workshop series is in full swing. Most workshops are held on Saturdays. Upcoming sessions include Community Scale Wind, Solar Hot Water, Small Wind, Microhydro, and PV Design, and the National Electric Code.
  • North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (Raleigh, N.C.)- NCSC is hosting week-long classes this fallin solar PV, solar thermal, small wind, and green building.
  • Southface (Atlanta, Ga.) – Southface is a great resource for one-day training in a variety of energy efficiency fields, such as building weatherization and energy auditing.
  • Tennessee Solar Institute (throughout Tenn.) – TSI partnered with colleges across the state in the past year to provide free, week-long training courses in solar PV installation.

There are several local colleges who have semester courses in a variety of green fields. For example, Pellissippi State in Knoxville, Tennessee has a solar PV installation program.

Solar Manufacturing

Recently, Tennessee has attracted several large solar manufacturing facilities. These companies are partnering with local colleges to provide training for future employees.

These are just a few of the green job training opportunities available in our region, and more will develop as the market for renewable energy grows here and elsewhere. The Southeast is expected to be a manufacturing hub for the rest of the nation, according to the Department of Energy’s report 20% Wind Energy by 2030. Solar energy job growth in the Southeast has grown at least 34% just in the past year according to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census. In addition, there’s huge opportunity in the Southeast for energy efficiency improvements. As our nation’s clean energy portfolio grows, the Southeast is primed and ready to be a leader in green manufacturing and services.

New updates for DSIRE

Posted on: August 30th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

The new, redesigned DSIRE Solar Policy Guide was just launched this week. The DSIRE Solar Policy Guide describes policy options adopted by state and local governments to encourage solar deployment, discusses status and trends of individual policies, provides examples of specific programs, and links to additional sources of information. This guide is meant to serve as a living document and will be updated quarterly to reflect new solar policy initiatives, trends, and resources.

This guide was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) “Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments“. The DOE guide focuses on policies and program options that are important to the development of a local market for solar. These two guides were designed to be complementary and address policy options relevant to both local and state governments.

In addition, the energy policy program at the N.C. Solar Center in collaboration with NREL and the DOE, created and launched the new DSIRE search widget. The DSIRE search widget can easily be incorporated into web sites and blogs. It allows your site’s users or your blog’s audience to search the DSIRE database for incentives in any U.S. state or territory.

This wind farm has a chance

Posted on: April 5th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Story by: Raleigh News & Observer

A proposal to build a 300-megawatt wind energy farm in the northeast corner of North Carolina has so far cleared a major milestone that has long eluded wind power in this state: It has generated no organized opposition.

Indeed, the lack of controversy prompted the N.C. Utilities Commission to cancel a portion of today’s public hearings in Raleigh that had been set aside to hear expert testimony from accountants and engineers.

Instead, the commission will hear from citizens about the proposal to erect up to 150 turbines, each structure nearly 500 feet tall from ground level to outstretched blade tip, on 31 square miles of farmland.

The $600 million Desert Wind Energy Project near Elizabeth City in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties would be the state’s first commercial-scale wind farm and one of the biggest in the nation. It would generate enough electricity to power between 55,000 and 70,000 homes.

Much smaller proposals in this state had been withdrawn in recent years, facing contentious opposition campaigns and public protests. The state legislature attempted to ban large-scale wind projects in the Appalachian Mountains, and coastal Carteret County enacted a moratorium on wind turbines.

Now, after two years of planning, the sprawling Desert Wind Energy Project is still alive and pending before a dozen government agencies, but it has yet to receive its first permit from federal, state or local authorities.

Construction, which would take nearly a year, would employ more than 400 workers, and the project would be operated and maintained by a crew of about 20, earning an average annual wage of $80,000.

Iberdrola, the Spanish company that’s proposing to develop the wind farm, has built more than 40 large wind farms in the U.S. over the past decade. Coastal North Carolina is considered to have some of the choicest wind resources on the East Coast, and Iberdrola is considering other parts of the state for development potential if it can successfully develop its Desert Wind project.

“North Carolina, in particular the area where we’re looking, meets the criteria we look for in any project,” said Iberdrola spokesman Paul Copleman. “People haven’t seen these before, they’re new to the state, and that inevitably raises questions on what it means to operate a wind farm.”

Not a tourist in sight

Iberdrola, the world’s largest wind developer, first set up wind monitors in 2009 to test wind speeds. It has held community meetings and participated in public hearings.

Unlike previous wind farm developers, Iberdrola has stayed clear of tourist areas and focused on sparsely populated tracts. The scrubland identified for the proposed wind farm is locally known as The Desert.

“If you drive out there you would think you were in Kansas,” said Wayne Harris, director of the region’s Albemarle Economic Development Commission. “It’s just absolutely flat, and there’s nothing but farmland.”

The company, operating in the U.S. through its Oregon-based subsidiary called Atlantic Wind, expects to spend the rest of the year seeking approval from a half-dozen N.C. agencies, including the N.C. Utilities Commission and the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Plus, Iberdrola has to get clearance from a pair of federal agencies as well as three branches of the U.S. armed forces.

Iberdrola will have to assure authorities the giant wind turbines don’t interfere with wildlife habitats, bird migration patterns or military flight routes, among other concerns.

The Iberdrola project would benefit from a federal cash grant that would cover 30 percent of the cost. At the earliest, construction would begin late this year and be completed at the end of 2012.

A boon to farmers

Iberdrola does not yet have customers lined up to buy the electricity it plans to generate, but the company is in discussions with Progress Energy, Duke Energy and other regional power suppliers for possible long-term power contracts. The utilities are all required by state law to buy renewable electricity generated by wind, sunshine and agricultural waste.

“Our initial assessment is that the project is economically viable and would provide renewable energy for our customers at a competitive price,” Progress spokesman Mike Hughes said.

Among those benefiting from the project will be farmers who allow Iberdrola to erect the towers on their property. Each tower will generate about $6,000 in annual rental income for the property owner, and the farmers will be able to continue working their land around the structures.

“For the farmers, these wind farms are a tremendous windfall,” Harris said.




NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program Orientation – Wilmington

Posted on: April 1st, 2011 by shannonhelm No Comments

Story by: NCSC


NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program Orientation – Wilmington —-Just 7 seats remaining!

A Service of the NC Solar Center’s High Performance Building Program


Wednesday, April 13, 2011
8:30 am to 1:00 pm


Cape Fear Green Building Alliance Training Room

272 N. Front Street, Suite 330, Wilmington, NC 28401



(Attendees must pre-register – Registration Closes April 8, 2011 at 9 am)


Register & pay for this session:


A half-day introduction to the North Carolina HealthyBuilt Homes (HBH) Program, a statewide residential green building certificate program.

· Overview of costs and benefits of residential green building practices in general, and the NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program. Specifically, why residential green building is necessary for people, the economy, and the environment.

· Overview of basic residential green building issues; energy efficiency with Energy Star (a prerequisite), water efficiency, site preservation and development, other energy efficiency issues, renewable energy applications, indoor air quality practices, materials, and accessibility. Will illustrate how the NC HealthyBuilt Homes Program addresses these issues.

· Resources for further research and professional development.


Please contact Jennifer Stutzman at
Individual workshops may be cancelled if registration is low – cancellation notifications will typically be issued the Friday before the workshop.



Free Workshops Offer Driving Solutions to Rising Gas Prices

Posted on: March 31st, 2011 by shannonhelm No Comments

Story by: NCSC



WHO: The N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University is hosting a Drive Green Save Green workshop and the 5th Annual Mobile CARE awards with funding support from the NC Department of Transportation and ten additional sponsors.


WHAT: The FREE workshop will feature presentations from education and industry experts on driving practices and technologies that will reduce fuel consumption and save drivers money.  A driving component will feature a five-mile course for attendees to practice driving tips learned in the workshop with a tool that tracks instantaneous and average vehicle miles per gallon.  The 5th annual Mobile Clean Air Renewable Energy (CARE) Awards will also be given to recognize individual, fleet, technology providers and policy/organizational efforts to reduce transportation related emissions.


WHEN: April 13, 2011 12:30-4:45

WHERE: Jane S McKimmon Conference Center

1101 Gorman St, Raleigh, NC 27606

More information: agenda and registration at

WHY: With the United States importing over half of the petroleum it uses and fuel prices rising sharply over the past month, fuel conservation is an important tool that can be used by all drivers. There are multiple benefits to driving with fuel economy in mind: saving money, reducing harmful emissions and increasing safety. In 2010, over 72,000 traffic accidents in North Carolina were speed related.


Photo/Press Opportunities:

3:00PM - Alternative fuel advanced vehicle display

3:15PM-4:00PM – Test drive using Scan Gauge fuel economy tool

4:15PM-4:45PM – Mobile CARE awards presented by N.C. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti




N.C. Solar Center policy project manager to speak at PV America 2011

Posted on: March 26th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Rusty Haynes, Policy Project Manager at the NC Solar Center, will discuss the nuances of state solar policies and markets at PV America 2011, which will be held in Philadelphia, PA, from 4/3/2011 – 4/5/2011. He will also moderate his session, titled “Next Generation PV Policy: What Does the Future Hold and Where are the Opportunities?”

Haynes ia a project manager for the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), the
nation’s most comprehensive source of information on financial incentives and policies that promote renewables and energy efficiency. DSIRE provides information on federal, state, local, and utility incentives and policies. This public resource contains information on over 2,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency programs and is used by more than 200,000 different people per month. The DSIRE tool is part of the energy incentives and policy program at the N.C. Solar Center.

PV America is presented by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), whose combined efforts have created a world-class, regionally focused and vertically integrated event that engages a wide spectrum of industry professionals. PV America 2011 will host nearly 3,000 buyers, technology experts and industry leaders.

Learn more about the conference.

Proposal would double state’s solar energy output

Posted on: March 25th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Story by: John Murawski, Raleigh N&O (reposted)


Solar energy has been far and away the most successful of the renewable resources power companies have developed in North Carolina since the state’s 2007 energy law required an increase in renewables and conservation.

Now advocates are pushing to double the state’s mandated solar output by electric utilities, saying promoting solar power also promotes jobs needed to install and maintain solar facilities.

A bill introduced Monday in the General Assembly raises the solar requirement from 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent of all retail electricity sold by 2018. If the mandate is not lifted, utility companies are likely to stop at 0.2 percent for solar power, which is one of the most expensive forms of green energy.

The bill’s sponsors are all mostly Republicans in the state House of Representatives: Tom Murry of Wake County, Ruth Samuelson of Mecklenburg County, Chuck McGrady of Henderson County and Tim Moffitt of Buncombe County. The lone Democratic sponsor is James Crawford Jr. of Granville and Vance counties.

But the state’s two leading utility companies, Duke Energy and Progress Energy, don’t support making changes to the 2007 law so soon after its passage.

“The most efficient way to do this is to stick with the policy you’ve developed,” said Progress spokesman Mike Hughes. “We and others have made long-term investments based on the state’s policy.”

Duke Energy and Progress Energy are ahead of the current schedule on solar development. Not only have the two power companies passed their 2011 targets, as set in the 2007 energy law, but they are soon expected to pass their 2015 targets.

Raleigh-based Progress and Charlotte-based Duke have developed industrial-scale solar energy farms as well as household rooftop solar projects throughout the state.

According to the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, a trade group for the renewable industry, the 2007 law had resulted in the development of nearly 60 megawatts of solar power in North Carolina. Three-fourths of the electricity comes from 20 projects that generate between 1 megawatt and 2 megawatts of electricity.

State energy policy allows the utilities to recover the cost of renewables and conservation projects through customers rates. Thus long-term contracts with solar farms, as well as incentives paid to customers to buy energy-efficient appliances, are covered by monthly bills all customers pay, just as costs for power plants, transmission lines, bucket trucks and other utility expenses.

Progress, for example, pays customers up to $10,000 for installing rooftop solar panels on their homes. The program was approved in November by the N.C. Utilities Commission.

The Progress SunSense program pays customers an upfront rebate of $1,000 per kilowatt capacity, depending on the size of the solar array, with the total rebate ranging between $2,000 and $10,000.

As part of the SunSense program, Progress is also offering a monthly bill credit ranging from $9 to $45, depending on the size of the solar array.

Duke Energy’s solar projects include a 8.5M megawatt household rooftop program that will install solar panels on customers’ homes, essentially creating mini power plants in neighborhoods throughout the company’s service area.

Duke is also buying electricity from SunEdison’s 15.5 megawatt solar farm in Davidson County


U.S. solar industry had a bright 2010

Posted on: March 25th, 2011 by admin No Comments

Story by: San Jose Mercury News

A recent report by the Solar Energy Industries Association found that 2010 was a banner year for solar in the United States. The total size of the U.S. solar market – which includes rooftop installations, hot water heating and utility scale projects – grew from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6 billion, a 67 percent increase.

“Solar is growing quickly across the U.S. at the residential, commercial, and utility scale levels. It is powering and heating buildings in all 50 states, and using a variety of technologies to do so,” states the executive summary of the report, which is scheduled to be released Thursday. “The rapid growth and unique diversity has made the U.S. market a focus of global industry attention for the first time in many years.”

California, with its abundant sunshine and leadership on renewable energy policies, remains the nation’s leading solar state. But other states, including New Jersey, Nevada and Arizona, are quickly becoming key markets. California installed 259 megawatts of solar power in 2010, far more than any other state, while New Jersey installed 137 megawatts. One megawatt of solar energy is enough to power roughly 200 California homes.

Photovoltaic installations, which represent the vast majority of the solar market, grew 102 percent in 2010 to reach 878 MW, up from 435 MW in 2009.

The report is the work of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research and is based on surveys of installers, manufacturers, utilities and state agencies.

The solar panels seen on most homes and office buildings are photovoltaic panels that convert the sun’s rays directly into electricity. Concentrating solar power, known as solar thermal or CSP, uses different technology: It concentrates the sun’s rays with mirrors or lenses to boil water, and the steam from the boiling water turns turbines that generate electricity.




Real Jobs. Real Progress. Real Solar

Posted on: March 24th, 2011 by shannonhelm No Comments

PITTSBORO – Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) and the North Carolina Solar Center at North Carolina State University collaborated to conduct an entire day devoted to education and outreach around solar technologies. The event was entitled “Real Jobs. Real Progress. Real Solar.” CCCC hosted this informational event on March 23rd at the Chatham County Campus. The North Carolina Solar Center is one of nine regional trainers providing train-the-trainer program for community college instructors in solar technologies and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Instructor Training Network.

The public was invited to come and enjoy the workshops and activities geared to help people learn more about solar power technology – the conversion of sunlight into electrical power – and what it can mean to them. All activities and workshops were free.

“The use of solar power is growing rapidly in North Carolina and the nation,” said Central Carolina Community College President Bud Marchant. “CCCC is partnering with major players in the field to provide training and to educate the public about the tremendous potential of this power source and how it can impact their lives.”

The college has earned the nickname “Green Central” for its leadership in preparing the workforce for the growing green economy. In 2010, it also opened three new energy-efficient, LEED-certified buildings at its Chatham Campus and Siler City Center.

The N.C. Solar Center is a regional and national leader in training renewable energy and energy efficiency professionals. The U.S. DOE’s Solar Instructor Training Network supports the professional development of instructors who train the nation’s solar workforce on photovoltaic (PV) and solar heating and cooling (SHC) installations.

During the Real Solar event, CCCC announced its partnership with FLS Energy for the installation of solar panel arrays on the roofs of Buildings 1 and 2 at the Chatham Campus.

FLS Energy will design, install, own and maintain the rooftop system consisting of 550 Suniva solar collectors. The environmentally clean project will generate 132 kW of electricity. FLS intends to sell the power to Progress Energy’s grid and fund the project from the available tax credits and Renewable Energy Credits for the system. The college will benefit by receiving an annual lease payment for the use of the roof space. The college also has the option to purchase the system after seven years.

For photos from the event, please check our Facebook page at



Advancing Clean Energy for a Sustainable Economy

Posted on: March 2nd, 2011 by shannon No Comments

Through its many facilities and programs, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center plays an important role in attracting, training and sustaining the state’s innovative energy businesses and workforce. The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center provides workforce training, curriculum, demonstration and testing of new products, technical assistance, financial analysis and industrial recruitment services that significantly benefit firms in North Carolina. The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center also offers technical assistance and educational services in the following areas:

Technical assistance:

Educational and other assistance: