Archive for March, 2011

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: