Archive for 2011

Save-the-date! Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference, March 8th-9th, 2012

Posted on: December 20th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

The 2012 Southeastern Coastal Wind Conference is a first-of-its-kind event that highlights Southeastern assets for wind energy deployment within the region. The conference is a collaborative effort involving more than 40 regional stakeholders from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Topics will include the region’s supply chain, resource, and market strengths to educate decision makers about costs, benefits, and policy options for wind energy. Offshore and coastal onshore wind energy will be discussed at this conference with a concentration on offshore wind energy.


Learn about the region with:

  • The largest offshore wind resource on the East Coast
  • The lowest cost wind energy supply chain solution
  • Over half of the East Coast’s electricity demand


Network with developers, policymakers, manufacturers, and industry leaders to envision and plan for the future of wind energy in the Southeast.


Location: Charlotte Convention Center

Dates: March 8th-9th, 2012

Join the conference mailing list  to stay up-to-date on all of the details!

First Citizens turns to solar power

Posted on: December 20th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

First Citizens Bank is going green — and we’re not talking about the color of cash money.

The Raleigh-based bank announced today that it is installing a 1.7 megawatt solar panel system on the roof of its Tryon Road corporate data center in Raleigh that will produce enough electricity to power about 200 homes annually.

“First Citizens is glad to help advance solar power use in North Carolina,” CEO Frank Holding Jr. said in a prepared statement.

A Mooresville company, SunEnergy1, is coordinating the project.

More than 1,100 First Citizens employees work at the data center at 100 East Tryon Road. The bank has 430 branches in 17 states and Washington, D.C.


Reposted from the Raleigh News & Observer

Environmental groups make deal in Duke Energy merger hearing

Posted on: December 13th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

A deal between environmental groups and Duke Energy    and Progress Energy    in South Carolina will require the companies to accelerate their energy-efficiency efforts, contribute $2 million to renewable-energy initiatives in the state and agree to an enforceable deadline for closing several coal plants.

The agreement was announced Monday as the S.C. Public Service Commission started hearings on part of Duke’s proposed $13.6 billion purchase of Progress. The agreement is likely to speed the hearing, which could be the final regulatory proceeding needed for the merger.

The commission must approve plans for Duke to dispatch power from the plants at the utility subsidiaries Duke Energy Carolinas and Progress Energy Carolinas as a single fleet after the merger. The post-merger Duke does not anticipate combining the two Carolinas utilities for several years. But operating the two fleets as one is key to at least $650 million in savings Duke has committed to sharing with Carolinas customers in the five years after the merger.

Efficiency deadlines

The Environmental Defense Fund, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the S.C. Coastal Conservation League have agreed to drop their opposition to the proposal for joint dispatch of the power from the two fleets.

In return, the combined company has agreed to speed up its energy-efficiency targets. By 2015, the company will save 1% of the energy sold in the previous year through efficiency. By 2018, the company will achieve 7% power savings over the 2014 total through efficiency. That is a year earlier than existing agreements with regulators for both targets.

The post-merger Duke also will contribute $1 million per year for two years to the nonprofit Palmetto Clean Energy Inc.

The two operating utilities also agreed to hard deadlines for closing a series of old coal plants that they have already agreed to close.

CEOs testify

Six groups have intervened in the S.C. proceedings for the joint-dispatch agreement. Most of them are satisfied with an agreement Duke and Progress made to have the power dispatched jointly on a one-year trial basis. The agreement will then be reviewed to make sure it is working as expected.

With the agreement announced Monday, only the city of Orangeburg remains unsatisfied with the proposal. It will be the only intervenor to cross-examine witnesses during the hearing. That should make the proceeding go faster, and it is now expected to be finished by Tuesday.

The seven commissioners are expected to have a number of questions — particularly for Duke CEO Jim Rogers and Progress CEO Bill Johnson, who will be on the first panel of witnesses today.

FERC questions

South Carolina has no jurisdiction over the merger of the two parent companies — Duke Energy    Corp. and Progress Energy    Inc. The only issue before the commission involves the joint dispatch. Kentucky has already already approved the corporate merger. North Carolina regulators have held a hearing on the corporate merger, but has not ruled yet.

North Carolina is waiting for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to complete its proceedings on the merger. The FERC has raised questions about the impact on wholesale power competition in the Carolinas. It is expected to rule Thursday on whether Duke and Progress have adequately answered those questions.

If FERC is satisfied, no more hearings need to be held in the merger after the South Carolina proceeding. If FERC puts additional conditions on the merger, it is possible that North and South Carolina will need additional hearings.


Republished from the Charlotte Business Journal; Author John Downey

NCSU scientists introduce solar dye

Posted on: December 12th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University    have developed a dye they say can improve solar energy technology.

Head researcher Ahmed El-Shafei says the dye, or “sensitizer,” improves dye-sensitized solar cells, which are placed on other plates, typically glass such as the windows of a house. The product has been named NCSU-10.

The dye has 14 percent more power density, says El-Shafei. “In other words, NCSU-10 allows us to harvest more energy from the same amount of light,” he said in a news release.

Paul Brucke, an engineer with Strata Solar, a solar energy systems company in Chapel Hill, says such solar cells are not a major player in the market yet. For one, they are more expensive than traditional panels, he says, and are used “almost like a novelty.”

If, however, the efficiency could be increased, as this new research indicates, it could be another step toward making dye-sensitized solar cells more prevalent in the solar market place.


Originally published Monday, Dec. 12th, 2011 by Jason deBruyn,. Triangle Business Journal

Public Forums: Offshore Wind in North Carolina: The Basics, Government Perspectives and Utility Perspectives

Posted on: December 12th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

North Carolina has the #1 offshore wind resource on the East Coast and efforts are underway to bring offshore wind energy development to the state.  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s North Carolina Offshore Renewable Energy Task Force is identifying suitable lease sites in federal waters with the input of local, state and federal stakeholders.  Forum attendees will learn about the basics of offshore wind energy and the benefits for North Carolina, the political support for offshore wind in North Carolina, the potential for interconnecting offshore wind into North Carolina’s electricity grid and the ongoing utility studies for offshore wind.


Brunswick County Public Forum

December 12, 2011

7:00pm – 9:00pm

South Brunswick Islands Center

9400 Ocean Highway West

Calabash, NC 28467



Tate Johnson, Governor’s Eastern Office

Larry Shirley, NC Department of Commerce

Jen Banks, NC Solar Center

Mark Byrd, Progress Energy

Christopher Fallon, Duke Energy


Onslow County Public Forum

December 13, 2011

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Jacksonville City Hall Council Chambers

815 New Bridge Street

Jacksonville, NC 28540



Tate Johnson, Governor’s Eastern Office

Brian O’Hara, NC Offshore Wind Coalition

Larry Shirley, NC Department of Commerce

Jen Banks, NC Solar Center

Mark Byrd, Progress Energy

Christopher Fallon, Duke Energy





GreenNC Symposium and Expo is Thursday, Dec. 8th!

Posted on: December 7th, 2011 by shannon

GreenNC Symposium 2011






The 7th Annual Green Building Symposium and Expo

Thursday, December 8, 2011
Durham Convention Center
Durham, NC
Expo is Free to Attend


GreenNC features:

• Exhibit space with prominent green designers, builders and suppliers that serve residential and commercial clients throughout North Carolina. Walk through and see what innovative companies are growing the North Carolina green economy. Learn what new green buildings products and initiatives are on the horizon for 2012. The Expo is free and open to the public. Click here to register for a space or to see a list of exhibitors.

• A full day of 24 education sessions covering a variety of current green building topics. Continuing education credits will be available for almost all sessions for GBCI (LEED AP+), AIA, ASLA and others. Participants can earn a total of four CE credit hours by attending one of six concurrent sessions in each of four time slots. Click here for description of each session.

• Opening plenary: Green Building Opportunity and Advocacy Made Easy. Panel will highlight successful green building initiatives from the local, state and federal levels. Speakers include Tim Cole, founding chair of Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Sustainable Schools Committee; North Carolina Senator Josh Stein; and Bryan Howard, Legislative Director at the U.S. Green Building Council.featuring successful green building initiatives from the local, state and federal levels.

• Luncheon keynote with Nate Kredich, Vice President of Residential Market Development for USGBC. Nate will address What’s Next? in Residential Sustainability in the U.S., speaking to regional and national green homes trends, the advent of data to drive enhanced performance, and the future of our existing housing stock. One hour of continuing education credits is available. For more information on Nate Kredich…

• An evening Green Award Gala to recognize and celebrate the exceptional leaders in the region’s green building movement. The Gala will be emceed by local legend Bucky Waters, and will feature Andrew Holton, of North Carolina State Treasurer’s Office. The Green Awards Gala will also feature a Silent Auction to benefit the Triangle USGBC Chapter. It will be a great time to relax, enjoy a delicious buffet of heavy hors d’oeuvres and cash bar, and be inspired by the accomplishments our friends and neighbors. Learn more…


****Sponsorships and Exhibit booths are still available. To register and learn more visit

EV Test Drive event in Western NC on Dec. 1st

Posted on: November 29th, 2011 by shannon

Greengov group members in Western NC are invited to attend the Electric Vehicle Test Drive Event on Thursday, December 1st at the Eaton plant in Asheville. The Land-of-Sky Regional Council, Eaton Corp. and the NC Division of Air Quality have organized this event to give the public an opportunity to:

  • Test drive an electric vehicle, including the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF
  • Plug in to the first DC Fast Charge Station installed in Western NC

There will be a speaking event from 9am to 9:30am to highlight efforts in the region to introduce plug-in EVs into the marketplace, install charging stations, and support local job growth. Speakers include Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk, Eaton Plant Manager John Wirtz, and Stan Cross of Bio-Wheels RTS.


The EV Test Drive Event will last from 9am to 12pm at the Eaton plant located at 221 Heywood Rd, Arden NC 28704 (directions). Please send an email to to RSVP and reserve a test drive slot.

Notice: Email disruption possible for the next few days

Posted on: November 29th, 2011 by shannon

Due to N.C. State University migrating to GMAIL for its new email system, some staff at the Solar Center may have disruptions with email during the next few days while this transition is taking place.  If you have a problem reaching a staff member via email, please check our staff listing page for specific phone numbers. Thank you!

District Energy and CHP Webinar – 11/17 at 1pm EST

Posted on: November 17th, 2011 by shannon

District Energy and CHP: Valuable Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities

Thursday, November 17, 2011 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST



DOE Southeast Clean Energy Application Center logo


The North Carolina Solar Center manages the US Department of Energy’s Southeast Clean Energy Application Center, which promotes deployment of highly efficient power and heat generation technologies. Our areas of work include Combined Heat and Power (CHP), District Energy and Waste Heat to Power. The Center is producing a webinar on District Energy and CHP, which is free to attend live or may be viewed later via a recording posted at the Southeast Clean Energy Application Center’s website.



Register for this webinar at


As cities, campuses and communities evolve to support denser populations with growing energy needs, traditional energy paradigms are giving way to cleaner, more efficient solutions like district energy systems. Although early investments in district energy and combined heat and power first took shape under Thomas Edison in Manhattan in the 1870’s, today’s district energy systems deliver very high reliability, reduced emissions, enhanced energy security through fuel flexibility, and tremendous economic advantages due to fuel efficiencies reaching toward 90%.

As population density climbs, we can no longer afford to simply hang all the load on the electricity grid. Thermal energy networks for heating and cooling cities or campuses can utilize surplus heat from power plants, or from waste to energy or from renewable sources like biomass, landfill gas, or geothermal. Natural sources of cooling like oceans, lakes and rivers can provide clean, abundant and affordable renewable district cooling to remove expensive peak demand from the wires and avoid emissions due to power generation.

In fact, in a May 2011 International Energy Agency report, heat was found to be the primary end use energy at 37% in OECD countries and at 47% globally, more than transport and electricity generation combined. To develop more sustainable cities and communities, infrastructure investment in thermal energy is critically important.

This briefing will provide an overview of the emergence of district energy in North America and discuss two cases: an award-winning and highly efficient CHP district energy system at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the private/public partnership investment in district heating and cooling for downtown Nashville, TN.
Robert Thornton – President, IDEA
Ray DuBose – Director, Energy Services at UNC-Chapel Hill
Harry Ragsdale – President, Thermal Engineering Group, Inc
Host:  Isaac Panzarella, Director, US DOE Southeast Clean Energy Application Center

Capital City’s First Dual Biofuels Station Opens with $.85 Fuel

Posted on: November 17th, 2011 by shannon

For Immediate Release


November 16, 2011




Crown Express Mart One of Handful in Nation Offering E85 & B20


Raleigh, N.C. – The first station to offer both E85 (85% ethanol/ 15% gasoline) and B20 (20% biodiesel/80% petroleum diesel) celebrated its grand opening with dignitary remarks, a ribbon cutting and an $.85 per gallon E85 promotion. The Crown Express Mart is located at 1210 New Bern Ave., just east of downtown near the intersection with Poole Rd. The station underwent extensive renovations and began providing the renewable fuel options in early October. “We are excited to be able to offer alternative fueling options in the Raleigh area. Individual and fleet customers now have a choice and convenient place to pump E-85 & B20 fuel seven days a week,” said Kokila Amin, one of the station owners.

Ward Lenz, Director of the State Energy Office at the N.C. Dept. of Commerce showing off the new E85/B20 fuel pump

Ward Lenz, Director of the State Energy Office at the N.C. Dept. of Commerce showing off the new E85/B20 fuel pump

There are close to 2,000 E85 capable flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) located in the zip code of the New Bern Ave station according to research conducted by RL Polk and Associates in July of this year. Across the state there are 18 commercial service stations offering E85, while there are over 236,000 FFVs according to data tracked by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University and RL Polk. It is important to provide fuel options, as there are over 40 makes and models of FFVs offered by auto manufacturers at no additional cost to the purchaser as compared to the same model that is not E85 compatible. FFVs can be operated on gasoline, E85 or any blend of ethanol in between. A fuel sensor provides information to adapt to the specific blend of ethanol powering the vehicle. Ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel currently produced in the United States primarily from corn grown in the Midwest. A byproduct of ethanol production is distiller’s grain, a high protein animal feed. E85 has been used for over a decade in North Carolina by the Department of Administration State Motor Fleet, but has only become available at commercial service stations over the past five years.

Biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel that is made from a variety of feedstock in the United States, including waste vegetable oil, soybeans and animal renderings. It can be utilized in a variety of blends in any diesel engine with no modifications required. In most fleet and consumer applications it is offered at a 20% blend level. B20 has been used by the N.C. Department of Transportation for over a decade and is provided at over 100 state fuel sites. The New Bern Crown Express is the third station to provide B20 to the motoring public in Raleigh, the 28th across the state.

Funding for the E85 refueling infrastructure was provided in part through a grant from the N.C. Solar Center using Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds from the N.C. Department of Transportation. The B20 refueling infrastructure was funded partially with American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding provided to Kargo Corp, the station owners, from the N.C. Department of Commerce. “We are grateful that the state has taken such a forward looking position on supporting the use of renewable fuels as these public private partnerships support clean air and domestic fuel and distribution opportunities” , said Anne Tazewell, Transportation Program Manager at the N.C. Solar Center. Representatives from state and local government spoke at the ribbon cutting along with Steve Walk, Protec Fuel Management. Protec and the Renewable Fuels Association partnered with the station owners on the $.85 gallon E85 for 85 minutes fuel promotion price at the opening celebration to encourage FFV drivers to try America’s home grown fuel.



About the NC Solar Center

The N.C. Solar Center, a division of the College of Engineering at N.C. State University, has operated since 1988 as a focal point for solar and other renewable energy programs, information, research, technical assistance, and training for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center and the clean transportation program visit



Anne Tazewell, N.C. Solar Center, 919-513-7831,

Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,