Archive for January, 2012

New 2.4MW Solar Array Installation Commissioned in Plymouth, N.C

Posted on: January 30th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

(PLYMOUTH, NC) It’s a sunny day for Plymouth, N.C., as today, SunEnergy1 hosted a ribbon-cutting and commissioning ceremony for the completion of the first stage of its own solar farm. Stage one of the project is 2.4 MW, and the panels were installed in under 17 days. The system passed its final inspection on December 30th.  Guests at today’s event included, Plymouth Mayor Brian Roth, Majority Whip Representative Ruth Samuelson, Representative Tim Spear, Congressman G.K. Butterfield, and more.

This system (which will be more than 10 MW upon completion) will benefit the town of Plymouth by supplying enough power to 1,200 homes and offset 9,869 metric tons of carbon emissions a year. This is the equivalent of planting 253,061 tree seedlings and growing them for 10 years.

The 2.4 MW ground-mount system is comprised of 9,800 Bosch 245 watt panels and utilizes 4 Schneider Electric GTX-500 inverters. The entire array will be constructed with a racking system made by Daetwyler Clean Energy and Platipus anchors.

This solar project was done in partnership with Sustainable Energy Community Development Corporation, The North Carolina Solar Center and numerous North Carolina companies that manufactured and supplied the project’s components.

“This project would not have been possible without our partners.  The North Carolina Solar Center at N.C. State University was critical in breaking down barriers to see this project move forward.  The N.C. Solar Center is truly the best resource in the United States for renewable energy development,” said Shawn Lemond, President/CEO of Sustainable Energy Community Development Corporation, who worked as a developer for this project.

SunEnergy1 will own and operate the system and will interconnect the system through Dominion Power, and sell energy to the PJM utility grid.


About the North Carolina Solar Center

Created in 1988, the North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), works closely with the renewable energy industry and state and local governments. It manages and maintains the NCSU Solar House and serves as a resource for innovative, clean energy technologies through research and demonstration, technical assistance, education, outreach and training. It also administers the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a resource identifying financial incentives and policies. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit:


About SunEnergy1

SunEnergy1 is a full-service Solar technology company dedicated to providing affordable and renewable energy to our clients with over 40 years of combined experience and installations in the USA. We are one of the largest and most integrated Solar companies on the East coast, providing comprehensive product and service solutions beginning at the design stage. SunEnergy1 is focused on designing, installing and operating Solar PV systems that use the sun’s energy to generate electricity for a wide range of applications in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. SunEnergy1 has office and warehouse facilities in the United States and Montreal, Canada.  


About Sustainable Energy Community Development Corporation

Sustainable Energy Community Development Company is a North Carolina limited liability company formed for the expressed purpose of developing and implementing a hybrid investment model that combines Federal New Markets Tax Credits with existing federal Business Energy Investment Tax Credits and North Carolina Renewable Energy Tax Credits. This unique coupling of tax incentives allows an SECDC  investments to avoid problems found in conventional renewable energy investments and achieve high return on investment (ROI) at lower risk. Another result of this hybrid model is that SECDC investments specifically target North Carolina low-income communities, and use North Carolina installers and manufacturers.



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




Guidebook and Web-Based Tool Released to Aid in Best Use of Incentive Dollars for On-site Wind

Posted on: January 24th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

January 24, 2012


State and utility policy makers, county officials, and other interested stakeholders can now explore the best ways to improve the bottom line of consumer-owned wind turbines with a new Distributed Wind Policy Comparison Tool and accompanying Guidebook, available at The Guidebook is also available through the U.S. Department of Energy Wind and Water Power Program online library at

As part of a project funded by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Policy Tool uses a dashboard-interfaced pro forma financial model to calculate the impacts that rebates, tax credits, feed-in tariffs (FITs) and other incentives and policies have on project economics. The project helps address market challenges for distributed wind identified in the U.S. DOE “20% Wind Energy by 2030” report, available at, as part of a diverse clean energy portfolio.

Users will learn what policy improvements – including overcoming zoning and interconnection hurdles, as well as rebates and tax incentives driving sales – are most needed for wind turbines up to 100 kW, and in which states. The Policy Tool allows sensitivity analyses to be conducted on various policy options and assumptions to determine impacts and optimal combinations to help guide efficient use of public and ratepayer funds.

The Guidebook highlights attractive markets and policy targets that offer the quickest returns on investment, by providing case studies, encouraging policy makers to build on lessons learned with best practices to sustain and improve support for on-site wind generation. Case studies are included to compare and contrast the existing policy landscape. One case study evaluates all states based on their current incentives and market environments for distributed wind.

Led by eFormative Options, experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the North Carolina Solar Center all played key roles in the project. “With increasing use of electric vehicles, wind turbines sited near the point of end use, such as at parking lots and truck stops, can quickly ramp-up to meet local demand,” said eFormative’s Principal Heather Rhoads-Weaver. “Our project helps ensure public dollars supporting this valuable technology are spent wisely.”

While rebates and incentives have been important drivers for the adoption of distributed wind technology, other policies have hindered market growth. With the wide variety of policies and regulations across various jurisdictional levels, utilities and policy makers wanting to support small wind projects have needed the clear roadmap that the Policy Tool and Guidebook provide.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the market for small wind systems grew 26% in 2010. “Small wind turbines are poised to become an important piece of our country’s energy puzzle,” said Rhoads-Weaver. “Strategic policy support can enable this emerging technology to more effectively contribute to the national economy.”



eFormative Options offers expertise in forming and advancing sustainable endeavors, evaluating economic development impacts, and siting, zoning and policy recommendations. Launched in 2005, eFormative consults on project and organizational development, grant writing, creating funding and resource plans, market analysis, public affairs, communications, consensus-building and strengthening relationships with stakeholders.



National Renewable Energy Laboratory develops renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices, advances related science and engineering, and transfers knowledge and innovations to address the nation’s energy and environmental goals. NREL has forged a focused strategic direction to increase its impact on the U.S. Department of Energy’s and our nation’s energy goals by accelerating the research path from scientific innovations to market-viable energy solutions. NREL began operating in 1977 as the Solar Energy Research Institute, and is managed for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.



Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory where interdisciplinary teams advance science and technology and deliver solutions to America’s most intractable problems in energy, the environment and national security. PNNL employs 4,800 staff, has an annual budget of nearly $1.1 billion, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab’s inception in 1965. Follow PNNL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.



Created in 1988, the North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), works closely with state and local government and the renewable energy industry. It manages and maintains the NCSU Solar House and serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through research and demonstration, technical assistance, education, outreach and training. It also administers the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a resource providing financial incentives and policies.



In order to promote national security, economic vitality, and environmental quality, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy works to enable rapid expansion of clean, affordable, reliable, domestic wind power through its Wind and Water Power Program. This program works with national laboratories, industry, universities, and other federal agencies to conduct research and development activities through competitively selected, cost-shared projects. and


Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8340,
Heather Rhoads-Weaver, 206-755-2064,
Franny White, PNNL, 509-375-6904,

Save the date! 9th Annual Sustainable Energy Conference

Posted on: January 20th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

SUSTAINABILITY: Optional no longer

9th Annual Sustainable Energy Conference
April 19-20, 2012
McKimmon Center in Raleigh, NC



Highlights of the 9th Annual Sustainable Energy Conference

  • individual registration fees still at 2008 levels
  • PDH continuing education hours
  • over 60 commercial and agency exhibits
  • lively reception and breakout sessions
  • great speakers and panelists on topics such as:


Finance & Jobs
Popular Consumer Demand
Smart Infrastructure
Agency Driven Economic Development
Statistical review of impact
Smart Grid
Incentives for Job Creation and Finance
Energy Internships and Fellowships
Residential & Commercial Building Codes
K-12 Public Schools
Performance Contracting
NC Home-Grown Energy from Solar,
Natural Gas, Wind, and Bioenergy
Deferred Maintenance

Corporate Culture of Sustainability
Weatherization, Residential & Multi-Family
Clean Power Efficiency
USI Cutting Edge Technologies
Business to Business Financing
Sustainable Agriculture
2011 Appliance Rebate Program
Energy Storage
Utility Savings Initiative Case Studies
Education and Training Programs
Electric vehicles
Lessons Learned from Hurricane Irene
Energy Star-Homes
Recovery Act/Lessons Learned


To learn more and register, visit:

Evatran Open House: February 2nd

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Plugless Power™, developed by Evatran™, is the first electric vehicle (EV) charging system on the market to offer customers a simple way to charge their EVs with the ease of wireless technology. In addition to aftermarket distribution, Evatran is currently working with automotive manufacturers to integrate the Plugless Power technology into mass-market EVs and signed a Joint Development Agreement with Yazaki North America, a major Tier 1 automotive supplier in May 2011. The company signed an installation agreement with Sears Home Services in December 2011 to support the installation of Plugless Power systems nationwide. To learn more about Plugless Power or to reserve a wireless charging system for your own EV, visit



The Evatran office will welcome visitors during its Open House, scheduled for February 2nd, 2012 from 7:00 – 8:30p at 1100 Perimeter Park Drive Suite #114.


Electric plants shift from coal to natural gas

Posted on: January 17th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

PITTSBURGH — The huge, belching smokestacks of electric power plants have long symbolized air pollution woes. But a shift is under way: More and more electric plants around the nation are being fueled by natural gas, which is far cleaner than coal, the traditional fuel.

The most optimistic projections describe an abundant domestic energy source that will create enormous numbers of jobs and lead to cleaner skies.

Nationwide, the electricity generated by gas-fired plants has risen by more than 50 percent over the last decade, while coal-fired generation has declined slightly. The gas plants generated about 600 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2000 and 981 billion hours in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
During the same period coal generation declined from 1,966 billion hours to 1,850 billion hours, while hydroelectric and nuclear generation stayed about the same. The figures include electricity use by consumers and industry.

Nationwide, EIA said natural gas use for power generation rose 7 percent between 2009 and 2010. That’s about 515 billion cubic feet. The biggest jumps were in the Southeast, with use rising 24 percent in North Carolina, 18 percent in Virginia and 15 percent in South Carolina.

“Most of the people I know in the electric power industry are building natural gas” plants, said Jay Apt, a professor of technology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. That’s because of low prices over the last few years and the relatively low cost of building such plants, compared with coal-fired or nuclear.

But Apt cautions that the trend could stall because the basics of supply and demand mean that if too many plants embrace cheap gas, it won’t stay cheap.

“The surest route to $6 or $8 gas is for everybody to plan on $4 gas,” Apt said, and if prices do rise, coal will again be the most cost-effective fuel. Natural gas is priced per million BTU.
Apt noted that there was a “huge building boom” in natural gas plants from the late 1990s to 2004, because utilities thought they would get rich from the combination of cheap fuel and plants that were highly efficient and relatively cheap to build. There were predictions that prices would stay low over the long term, too.

But natural gas prices spiked, and the new gas-fired plants around the nation stayed idle much of the time. That trend was also driven by another irony: The gas-fired plants are easier to start and stop compared with coal or nuclear, so many utilities used them just for peak electric demand periods.

Still, history may not repeat itself because of the huge surge in supply from Marcellus Shale gas drilling. Vast gas deposits that previously couldn’t be extracted economically are now being tapped using new technologies. Instead of drilling straight down, companies can drill horizontally and follow seams of gas for a mile or more deep underground. Then the drillers use hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to free the gas from the relatively dense shale rock.

That’s led to environmental concerns from some residents, scientists and regulators who feel there are too many unknowns in the process, along with an undisputed boom in production that’s brought great wealth to some landowners, and a surge of jobs.

Some companies clearly believe the switch to natural gas plants makes long-term sense.

Sunbury Generation LP in central Pennsylvania plans to close five of its six coal-fired generators and replace them with two natural gas-fired turbines by 2015, the Daily Item reported last month.

But some companies are deciding not to switch fuels.

The owners of the Homer City Generating Station in western Pennsylvania, the state’s second-largest coal plant, plan to add $700 million in pollution control equipment to keep the 40-year-old plant running and in compliance with clean air laws.

Natural gas-fired power plants are “orders of magnitude cleaner” than coal plants, said Jan Jarrett, president of the PennFuture environmental group.

Jarrett said PennFuture wants coal-fired units retired and replaced by gas-fired, at least for the short term.

“There’s no way that we can scale up wind and solar to meet the demands over the near future,” she said. “Gas itself is a much cleaner burning fuel that can help clean up our air.”

But Apt sees a slow, moderate shift.

“My sense is you’ll get small changes here,” he said, since the current low natural gas prices are attracting market demand from around the world.

There are already federal permits for 3 trillion cubic feet per year of natural gas exports, Apt said.

“Will we export that bounty, and if we do, will that drive up U.S. prices,” he said. Natural gas sells for about $8 in Europe and $14 in Japan, but less than $4 here.

“They’re not going to tear down the coal plants, because they’ve seen this movie before,” Apt said of electric companies. “They will mothball those plants and start up the coal plants again” if natural gas prices rise.


By KEVIN BEGOS – Associated Press

Cleveland County solar farm opens

Posted on: January 13th, 2012 by shannon No Comments
Duke will buy electricity from Strata Solar, which hopes to add 150-200 jobs.

By Bruce Henderson

Posted: Friday, Jan. 13, 2012

Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar and Duke Energy opened a 22,000-panel solar farm in Cleveland County Thursday, joining a growing list of commercial-scale solar projects across the state.

The installation, called Kings Mountain Solar, is capable of generating 5 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 616 homes. Duke will buy the electricity and the renewable energy credits the site generates under a 20-year contract.

Strata formed nearly three years ago and has operations in Ontario, Canada and San Francisco.

Chief executive Markus Wilhelm attributes the expansion of utility-scale N.C. solar farms to the state’s renewable-energy standard, which requires utilities to generate or buy green power, and to a dramatic drop in solar prices.

Wilhelm estimated that the Kings Mountain solar farm cost 30 percent to 40 percent less to build than it would have a year ago. The price of solar panels alone, he said, has plummeted 40 percent to 50 percent.

He expects prices to continue to drop. Strata hopes to add 150 to 200 workers in the next year, he said.

Most of the company’s recent hires, he said, have come from the ranks of jobless young people and professionals. Strata works with the Urban League and the Raleigh Business & Technology Center, a small-business incubator, in hiring young people it can train in the field.

Federal investment tax credits and state renewable-energy tax credits help make such projects viable, Wilhelm said, but the maturing solar industry is rapidly gaining traction on its own.

“For each Solyndra, you have hundreds of companies like ours,” he said. Solyndra Corp. is the California solar-panel maker that famously went bankrupt last September after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee.

North Carolina had 228 solar firms in 2011 employing an estimated 1,868 people, the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association reported in its annual industries census.

Charlotte-based Duke runs a program to place 10 megawatts of solar power on N.C. rooftops and buys the power from a 17-megawatt solar farm in Davidson County. It also operates 17 megawatts of commercial solar power, including farms in Shelby and Taylorsville.
Read more here:


Alamance County Rest Area receives Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Posted on: January 12th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

The event marked the formal ribbon-cutting of one of the first electric vehicle charging stations to operate at a North Carolina rest area. Electric vehicle charging stations have recently been installed for public use at the Alamance County Rest Area, as well as at the rest area located at the I-95/I-40 junction near Benson – locations that garner more than 1 million visitors each year. The stations were provided by Raleigh-based Praxis Technologies, Inc. through a grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce Green Business Fund Program.

The Jan. 11 ribbon-cutting was hosted by Praxis Technologies, Inc. and featured speakers from the N.C. Departments of Transportation and Commerce. Following the remarks, a Nissan Leaf was available for demonstration courtesy of Michael Jordan Nissan in Durham.

Alamance County Rest Area EV station ribbon cutting

Praxis CEO speaking at Alamance County rest area EV station ribbon cutting

Register for Upcoming Solar Workshops

Posted on: January 5th, 2012 by shannon No Comments


REPV: Renewable Energy Generation with PV Systems
Q1 Dates:
January 30 – February 3, March 19 – 23
Location: Holiday Inn Express-NCSU, Raleigh, NC


REPV is an weeklong workshop taught by David Del Vecchio, one of only four IREC ISPQ Certified Master Trainers/PV in the east coast. Learn the technical and practical aspects of designing and installing a residential photovoltaic system. Includes a hands-on installation day. This class fulfills NABCEP educational requirements to sit for the NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam.

Click here to register and learn more.


REST: Renewable Energy Generation with Solar Thermal Systems
2012 Dates: April 9 -13, August 6 – 10
Location: Holiday Inn Express-NCSU, Raleigh, NC


This workshop, instructed by industry leader Bill Guiney, focuses on domestic solar hot water systems but will include discussions on different solar thermal applications and types. Includes a hands-on installation day and fulfills NABCEP Solar Heating Entry Level Learning Objectives.

Click here to register and learn more.


About the Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series


This award-winning IREC ISPQ Accredited Training Program has been revamped to simplify its courses. It will be 5-intense days of PV information capped with a day of installing a system.Those without electrical backgrounds are advised to review the basics of electricity. Advanced PV workshops will continue to be offered as a week-long class that is counted toward the completion of your diploma. In addition, the new Certificate in Renewable Energy Management (CREM) program will also count towards the completion of the RET Diploma.

Download RET Diploma Series Brochure.


Earn Continuing Education Credits


NCSC workshops offer CEUs and continuing education credit hours for LEED professionals, Professional Engineers and AIAs, as well as  NC Electrical Contractors (PV and wind workshops).



How to Complete the Diploma

To complete the RET Diploma, you must take three weeklong (40-hour) workshops within three years. The workshops that count toward the non-degree diploma from NC State University are:


  • REPV: Renewable Energy Generation with Photovoltaics Systems
  • REPV(A): Advanced Design and Installation of Photovoltaic Systems*
  • REST: Renewable Energy Generation with Solar Thermal Systems
  • REW: Renewable Energy Generation with Wind Energy Systems
  • GB Intro: Designing and Building a Sustainable Home or Small Building
  • Certificate in Renewable Energy Management

*you must have taken REPV previously, or have passed the NABCEP Entry-Level PV Exam


2012 Schedule:

Click on the hyperlinks to register

REPV: January 30- February 3, March 19-23, April 23-27, July 9-13, September 17-21, November 12-16, 2012

REPV-A:  October 15 – 19

REST: April 9 -13, August 6 – 10

REW: September 17 – 21

GB Intro: May 7 – 11

CREM: March – May

Electric Motor Manufacturer to Create 166 Jobs in Cleveland County

Posted on: January 4th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

State Grant Helps Baldor Electric Expand in Kings Mountain


RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that Baldor Electric Company, a North American leader in industrial electric motors, will expand their operations in Cleveland County to accommodate growing demand for wind-powered technology.  The project is projected to create 166 jobs, and the company expects to invest $17 million in the plant. The project was made possible in part by a $400,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

“North Carolina has a strong commitment to developing and growing the green energy economy,” said Gov. Perdue.  “Our terrific business climate and skilled workforce make North Carolina an excellent location for companies who share our vision of a sustainable energy future. We thank Baldor Electric for their continued commitment to that vision and to our state.”

Baldor Electric Company is the North American leader in industrial electric motors and is headquartered in Fort Smith, Ark. The company began manufacturing electric motors in Kings Mountain in 1983. ABB Ltd. based in Zurich, Switzerland acquired Baldor in January 2011 as part of their strategy to become a global leader for movement and control in industrial applications. The combining of the two companies allowed ABB to increase its presence in North American markets while facilitating the sale of Baldor’s products globally through ABB’s worldwide distribution network. The addition of Baldor’s 6,800 North American employees brings the number of ABB’s employees on this continent to approximately 17,000.

The average annual payroll for the project is estimated to exceed $7.3 million.  Salaries will vary by job function.  The overall annual wages will exceed the Cleveland County annual average wage, which is $32,344.

“We appreciate the opportunity the One North Carolina Fund has given us to expand production in Cleveland County,” said Bill Ramsbey, Vice President of Operations. “Building our products efficiently in the United States and exporting them around the world has long been a strategy at Baldor. We have enjoyed working with the state of North Carolina and Cleveland County to fulfill this strategy since 1983.”

The One North Carolina Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.

North Carolina continues to have a top-ranked business climate. Through Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative, the state works aggressively to create jobs, train, and retrain its workforce, laying the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.

Through the use of the One North Carolina Fund, more than 55,000 jobs and $11 billion in investments have been created since 2001. Other partners that helped with this project include the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, Gardner-Webb University, Cleveland County, Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership, the City of Shelby and Duke Energy.



Mark Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Governor
1 East Edenton Street
Raleigh, NC 27601