Archive for June, 2012

N.C. Energy Office Wins Grant for Energy Efficiency Improvement Projects

Posted on: June 28th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Program Will Benefit Rural Schools, Community Colleges and Local Governments

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Energy Office has received a $532,134 U.S. Department of Energy grant to expand its award-winning Utility Savings Initiative to provide energy efficiency assistance to often overlooked or understaffed rural public school systems, community colleges and local governments.  The grant will enable the Energy Office to work with eight public school districts, eight community colleges and six local governments to plan, implement and finance energy efficiency improvements to buildings and other public infrastructure.

“Many of our public buildings and other infrastructure can provide many more years of good use at a reasonable cost to taxpayers if we can get control of the costs to operate them,” said Jon Williams, N.C. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Energy.  “With this grant, 22 agencies will be able extend their life and usefulness while curbing wasteful energy consumption, controlling government costs and freeing up capital improvement dollars for other needs.”

North Carolina is one of 22 states receiving a portion of the $14 million in the U.S. Energy Department’s State Energy Program 2012 Competitive Awards grants.  The grants were announced Wednesday by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

“Deploying energy efficiency in our buildings, vehicles and industries creates jobs, grows markets for American-made products, reduced energy bills for families and businesses and makes the American economy more competitive,” Chu said.

The goals of the federal program included: increasing energy efficiency in public facilities while implementing building retrofit programs or strategies across as broad a segment of the state’s public building portfolio; stimulating energy efficiency actions to support investment in cost-effective energy efficiency to achieve statewide energy savings goals; and developing a public facilities energy retrofit program that can be used successfully to retrofit public facilities throughout the state and across many public sectors.

The state Energy Office’s Utility Savings Initiative group expects to be move quickly by identifying projects from the waiting list compiled from competitive grant applications made through the federal Recovery Act solicitations.  Energy audits of buildings and a comprehensive strategic energy plan were requirements of those applications so there is a “shovel-ready” waiting list of potential projects.

Performance contracts, an investment-grade method of financing energy improvements with the money saved as a result of the upgrades, will be designed for the 22 agencies and some projects could be finished in as few as nine months while others may need up to two years to complete.  Along with the upgrades and retrofits, a long-term data collection system will be used to collect and track energy savings and provide important information for other agencies contemplating investments in energy efficiency improvements.

The Utility Savings Initiative has developed a strong track-record in conserving energy and saving taxpayer dollars by controlling the state’s utility bills.  Since the program’s inception in fiscal year 2002-03, an investment of approximately $11.5 million has produced more than $417 million in avoided utility costs.  Energy consumption in state facilities is down 18 percent while energy costs have increased 44 percent.  Had the Utility Savings Initiative not been in place taxpayers would have paid an additional $82.8 million for utilities.


The news release from the U.S. Department of Energy is available online at:

Asheville goes greener with natural gas vehicles

Posted on: June 28th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

ASHEVILLE — Aiming to become the greenest city in the Southeast, Asheville boosted the number of vehicles in the municipal fleet that can run on cheaper and cleaner-burning compressed natural gas.

City officials along with Land-of-Sky Regional Council staffers and Mission Health Systems celebrated the reopening Wednesday of the city’s CNG-filling station on McCormick Place and the addition of new vehicles that will mean less greenhouse gas emissions and better air quality for the mountains.

“This is what it looks like to become the greenest city in the Southeast. You need the people with commitment and the clean local technology,” said Maggie Ullman, the city’s sustainability director.

The new vehicles and station improvement were the region’s share of federal stimulus money obtained through the Carolina Blue Skies and Green Jobs Initiative.

Spearheaded by the Triangle J Council of Governments, the project has spent about $12 million for more than 40 alternative fuel projects in North and South Carolina that should save 3 million gallons of gas each year.

The Asheville area has become a leader in the use of CNG vehicles, with two-thirds of the vehicles reported in operation in North and South Carolina, said Kathy Boyer of the Triangle J Council. “You guys have done a really good job,” she said.

The city station was originally built in 2005, but the renovations have doubled the station’s capacity. The city used $1.5 million including more than $800,000 in stimulus money for the improvements and to add 23 new CNG-fueled vehicles. Currently, 37 of the city’s 600 vehicles, or about 7 percent, run on the compressed natural gas, which typically costs a dollar less than a gallon of gasoline.

The CNG infrastructure is expanding around the region, making it easier for drivers to refuel vehicles converted to run on compressed natural gas.

Other sites include Alltec Eco Energy’s station on Hendersonville road and a new station in Hendersonville. PSCNC, the area’s natural gas utility, plans to open a filling station on Brevard Road later this year.

“We have the largest concentration of CNG filling stations than in any other part of the state,” said Bill Eaker, who heads the Land-of-Sky Regional Council’s Clean Vehicles Coalition.

Mission Health Systems workers will also use the station to fuel the five new CNG vehicles added to the nonprofit’s shuttle fleet. Mission received about $100,000 in grant money for the purchases. Using CNG fuel the past six years has reduced Mission’s greenhouse gas emissions by 276,000 pounds, saving some 14,000 gallons of gas.

Mission is committed not just to the health of individuals but improving the health of the environment for all, according to Dr. Ronald Paulus, Mission’s CEO.

“We can do right by doing good,” Paulus said. “The quality of our air impacts the health status of our community, whether it’s kids with asthma or adults with COPD.”

Natural gas is cheaply abundant in the U.S., which has greater reserves of the gas than Saudi Arabia has oil, Paulus said.

“It’s a lot easier to budget for natural gas as a fuel than for diesel,” said Keith Bamberger with the state Division of Air Quality in Swannanoa. With the move toward cleaner-burning vehicles as well as the smokestack improvements at the Progress Energy plant, “our air quality is getting noticeably better in recent years,” he said.


Written by: Dale Neal, Asheville Citizen-Times

Grand Opening for the City of Greensboro’s first Compressed Natural Gas fueling station

Posted on: June 22nd, 2012 by shannon No Comments



The City of Greensboro is hosting a Grand Opening for its first compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station and vehicles. The City is also unveiling two new CNG recycling trucks that are ready to be put into operation.

CNG vehicles help increase energy security and independence. According to the US Department of Energy, 85% of the CNG in use in the US today is domestically produced. CNG vehicles also demonstrate an 80 percent reduction in ozone-forming emissions.



Friday, June 29, 2012, 10 am



City of Greensboro Field Operations Department,

401 Patton Ave., Greensboro, NC 27406


At 10 am on Friday, June 29, the City will debut Compressed Natural Gas vehicles for Greensboro’s Solid Waste Collection Division. With those vehicles, the City is also unveiling Greensboro’s first municipal compressed natural gas refueling station. To mark this occasion, we would like to invite you to be a part of the festivities.



Congressman Brad Miller, Representative Pricey Harrison, Mayor Robbie Perkins and Senator Gladys Robinson are each scheduled to speak at the event.

North Carolina Congressional delegates, Greensboro City Council members, representatives from the State of North Carolina, the Triangle J Council of Governments, the North Carolina Solar Center/NC State University and City staff will be on hand for the event.

Greensboro’s CNG program is part of the “Carolina Blue Skies and Green Jobs Initiative”, a project led by Triangle J Council of Governments (TJCOG), with  $12 million in  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Initiative provides for major expansion of alternative fuel vehicles and refueling infrastructure through the collaboration of Triangle Clean Cities Coalition /Triangle J Council of Governments (COG) and the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University.


View Event Flyer

Announcing the North Carolina Wind Energy Supply Chain Workshop [Onshore and Offshore]

Posted on: June 21st, 2012 by shannon No Comments

This workshop has been created for those who want to learn about current market trends and supply chain opportunities in the wind energy industry.  The workshop presenters have toured the world’s largest OEMs, both here and in Europe, interviewed wind farm developers and general contractors, and have condensed the findings into this focused educational program.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012   9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Raleigh, North Carolina

Registration Fee: $50

Includes Lunch and Beverages


Who Should Attend:

Manufacturers interested in exploring new market opportunities who operate a foundry, forge,  machine shop, composites or fabricating plant, or for those who operate a factory that produces power electronics, control systems, hydraulics, composites, fasteners, brakes, blades, nacelles, or supplemental equipment for the wind industry such as ladders, elevators, hoists, fire-suppression, lighting, or meteorological equipment.


Workshop Topics:

• How extensive is this industry and what are the trends?

• What is the supply chain structure for wind turbine parts?

• What are the industry sector lessons for fabrication and machining, composites and electrical?

• What are the offshore and onshore opportunities for North Carolina manufacturers?

• Where does a company get more information fast?


Register here


Download event flyer


For questions: Buster Knox,, 704.589.0822

Sponsors include: The N.C. Solar Center, Industrial Extension Services at N.C . State University, BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, Clean Energy Manufacturing Center,, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition, N.C. Sustainable Energy Association.

NC CHP Initiative meeting 6/28 to discuss ways to promote the Combined Heat & Power market

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

The North Carolina CHP Initiative (NC-CHPI) will have its first meeting of the year on June 28th, from 11:00-1:30 in Charlotte.  Piedmont Natural Gas will host the meeting of roughly 30 participants who are interested in promoting the CHP market in North Carolina. Participants include industrial energy end users such as Coca-Cola Bottling company, NGOs, utilities, governmental agencies and private developer’s such as Recycled Energy Development.

This first meeting of the year will be a working session where participants will evaluate NC CHP incentives and financing mechanisms, as well as define its goals for 2012. This effort is lead by the U.S. DOE Southeast Clean Energy Application Center, a Clean Power and Industrial Efficiency project hosted by the N.C. Solar Center.

NC CHP Initiative mission statement: The North Carolina CHP Initiative (NC-CHPI) is an association of business interests supporting combined heat and power in industrial, commercial and institutional settings. The NC-CHPI champions CHP as a clean, reliable and cost effective power resource that supports the economy of the state.

Interested in learning more and being a part of the discussion?  Join the LinkedIn Group


Dorcas Creates Energy & Cash with Rooftop Solar Farm

Posted on: June 14th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Cary, NC – Dorcas Ministries in Cary has a new solar rooftop. It generates energy, cash and claims to be the largest solar farm in Wake County.

Found Money

Large buildings are typically an energy drain – dark roofs require lots of energy to cool building interiors, and the size often contributes to water run-off issues.

By utilizing this often overlooked space to house solar panels, Argand Energy and  Yes! Solar Solutions of Cary have unlocked a source of renewable energy for Dorcas Ministries.  Located on otherwise cost-consuming space, the farm generates an income for Dorcas.

Leasing Payments Provide Revenue Stream

Argand Energy owns and operates the 237 kilowatt solar array and pay Dorcas Ministries lease payments for using rooftop space. By leasing their roof, Dorcas Ministries has created a much needed revenue stream that will help fund their mission of providing crisis support for the people they serve throughout the community.

Argand’s Director of Sales, Rob Lease commented, “Argand, in partnership with Yes! Solar, is proud to be part of furthering Dorcas Ministries outreach programs by providing a valuable revenue stream and an educational opportunity while leveraging solar energy to build a sustainable community.”

More Self-Reliant

Howard Manning, Executive Director of Dorcas Ministries spoke about the benefits of the partnership for the Cary community. “Our partnership with Yes! Solar Solutions and Argrand Energy Solutions is another excellent example of how all of us (for profit and non profit businesses) can collaborate to make our community the best place to live, work, and play.”

“Since our relocation to Cary Plaza,” Manning continued,  ”one of our priorities has been to help our clients break the cycle of financial crises by becoming more self reliant.  The income we receive from leasing our otherwise unusable roof space benefits Dorcas’s mission to create a circle of sustainability by providing the tools to help others become sustainable.”

Competing Companies, Working Together

Yes! Solar Solutions, located in Cary, installs photovoltilic solar panel systems, specializing in small business, homes,  and non-profits. President Stew Miller remarked, “Our business plan includes developing opportunities for non-profits to spread sustainability among all facets of the community.”


Written by staff reports from

Electric Vehicle Meeting Shows Community Preparedness across the State: Current Status and Next Steps

Posted on: June 14th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Individuals interested in learning more about plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and the current status of their community’s PEV readiness plans can learn more at the North Carolina PEV Taskforce mid-point meeting on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. The meeting will run from 11 am to 3 pm in the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville, N.C.

“There are currently almost 1,000 PEVs traveling North Carolina’s roads, and that makes us even more excited about this upcoming meeting,” says Katie Drye, project manager, Electric Transportation, Advanced Energy. “It’s our mid-point meeting, so we’re hoping to see more development on our state roadmap for PEV readiness as well as the four community PEV readiness plans.”

Terry Komlos, manager, Zero Emissions Mobility, Nissan North America will deliver the keynote address. The meeting will also feature panel discussions on:


1.         Community PEV Readiness Plan Processes: Community leads from Asheville, Charlotte, Piedmont Triad, and the Triangle will share their share thoughts on barriers and successes they face while preparing community PEV readiness plans through the Mountains to Sea grant award.


2.         NC PEV Taskforce Working Groups Panel: The State PEV Taskforce working group chairs will answer questions and share their work for the state working groups. Taskforce Working Groups include: Vehicles, Infrastructure, Economic Development, Incentives, Education and Outreach, and Policy Codes and Standards.


3.         PEV Industry: The North Carolina Department of Commerce will lead a conversation with three North Carolina PEV industry representatives on the barriers and opportunities for establishing and growing a PEV related business in North Carolina.


Advanced Energy, sponsors of the NC PEV Taskforce, The meeting will be hosted by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, and Mountains to Sea Grant Partners, including Centralina Council of Governments, Triangle J Council of Governments, NC Solar Center, Land-of-Sky Regional Council, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, and Advanced Energy.  PEV industry leaders, state, regional and local government officials, universities and colleges, electric utilities, economic development organizations, environmental groups, non-profits and other interested parties are encouraged to attend this meeting. For more information on the event visit

The NC PEV Readiness Initiative: Plugging in from Mountains to Sea (M2S) planning project with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program through Centralina Council of Governments. Partners include: Advanced Energy, Land?of?Sky Regional Council, NC Solar Center/NC State University, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, & Triangle J Council of Governments.

N.C. Solar Center Staff Participating in N.C. Military Business Center Environmental Symposium

Posted on: June 13th, 2012 by shannon No Comments

The N.C. Military Business Center, Senator Kay Hagan, and Senator Richard Burr are hosting the third annual N.C. Federal Environmental Symposium on June 13, 2012 in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  The symposium will gather 350 industry and government representatives to discuss local business opportunities created by net zero goals in the U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan.  The N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Power and Industrial Efficiency Program will participate in a net zero energy focus round table discussion and will highlight combined heat and power (CHP)  based microgrid installations at military bases.

Kay Hagan attending an introduction panel at the 10th Annual Defense Trade Show hosted by the NC Military Business Center.

The N.C. Federal Environmental Symposium will kick off with introductions by Jason Soper, military liaison with the Office of Senator Richard Burr, and Jenny Hartsock, military liaison from the Office of Senator Kay Hagan.  In addition, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Thomas Hicks, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Richard G. Kidd IV, will be keynote speakers at the event.

The event will also feature three round table discussions on net zero water, waste and energy installations that will include panel speakers and breakout discussion sessions for all participants.  Isaac Panzarella, Clean Power Project Coordinator with the Solar Center will speak on the net zero energy panel about his work on CHP and microgrid systems for military installations.  These systems provide military bases with significant on-site infrastructure that allows the base to operate during utility grid disruptions and downtime.  CHP serves as an important tool to manage energy costs and also enables advanced integration of distributed renewable energy resources, assisting bases to meet this requirement of the DOD’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan.   In 2008 a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy was formed to examine military energy use, and led to a task force focused on net zero energy military installations. Net zero energy installations include on-site renewable energy generation or the use of on-site generated renewable energy fuels in buildings, facilities and fleet vehicles on the military base. These installations are intended to provide the total energy consumed by the military base.  North Carolina businesses can contribute to the installations in the waste, water and energy sector, to assist local military bases in meeting Federal goals.

An important project led by the N.C. Solar Center is the U.S. DOE Southeast Clean Energy Application Center (SE-CEAC).  The SE-CEAC promotes CHP throughout the Southeast region as a clean distributed energy resource, and focuses on military microgrids as a significant market sector. To support these efforts, the N.C. Solar Center provides technical assistance to military installation public works and energy groups on identifying opportunities for CHP systems. The N.C. Solar Center also engages in economic and project development with the Regional Triangle Research Partnership’s CleanTech Cluster and North Carolina State University’s Energy Council to support microgrid deployment.

Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division Heating and Cooling Plant has a 5 megawatt CHP system that was recognized with a 2012 EPA Energy Star CHP Award

The North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) is a business development entity of the North Carolina Community College System, headquartered at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC).  The mission of the NCMBC is to leverage military and other federal business opportunities for economic development and quality of life in North Carolina. The NCMBC’s primary goal is to help existing businesses identify, bid on and win military and other federal contracts.

Register for and find out more about the NC Federal Environmental Symposium here:

WINDPOWER 2012 showcasing the Southeast’s wind potential

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

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)  is showing its support for the Southeast by hosting WINDPOWER 2012 in Atlanta.   The conference began Sunday, June 3rd and will end on June 6th.  Attendees will learn how wind energy is changing the south, creating jobs, and adding a source of competitive energy for America.


The following speakers from North Carolina will present during the conference:

  • Brian O’Hara, President of the NC Offshore Wind Coalition, will discuss offshore wind in the Southeast during a session titled “Offshore Wind: Realizing Viable Projects in the U.S. — Wednesday, June 6th, 8:30am-10am


  • Henry Campen, Partner at Parker Poe, will moderate a session titled “Bringing Wind Energy to the Southeast” – Dave Groberg, Vice President at Invenergy, will provide a developer’s perspective on wind developments in the Southeast during this session (Invenergy has received Utilities Commission approval for the 80 MW Pantego project in Beaufort County)


  • Jen Banks will present on the wind industry supply chain assets in NC during a session titled “The Role of Wind Power in Economic Development and Jobs Creation” — Tuesday, June 5th, 3:30-5pm


 Manufacturing The Future – A Video by AWEA highlights the Southeast

Three workers who manufacture components for the wind energy industry explain how the WINDPOWER 2012 conference in Atlanta will be a homecoming for the industry.


Lean more about the conference and the wind industry at WINDPOWER 2012

New local art exhibition showcases solar powered art: Opening June 15th

Posted on: June 1st, 2012 by shannon No Comments

Opening weekend of new art exhibition showcases solar powered art

Weekend festivities open to public



FORM SPECIAL, presented by the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) Raleigh in partnership with the North Carolina Solar Center at N.C. State University, and Andy Hall, artist and creator of FORM SPECIAL.



CAM Raleigh’s latest Independent Weekly Gallery Emerging Artist Series exhibition, FORM SPECIAL: Solar Projects and Site Collages, is a new body of artwork commissioned by CAM Raleigh and created by Andy Hall. Events will be held as part of the opening weekend of the exhibit, including an opening night viewing for the public, a solar bike ride, Family Day, and an artist talk given by Andy Hall.  The weekend will also mark the beginning of a speaker series that will continue until September on the state of sustainable energy in Raleigh and North Carolina.




Friday, June 15, 2012

Opening Reception: 6-9pm; Open to the public. Museum admission is $5.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Artist In-Gallery Talk: 3pm

Join artist Andy Hall for an informal gallery talk and tour of his exhibition.  The tour is free with museum admission and members.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

CAM Raleigh Family Day: 12-3pm

Triangle area families are invited to CAM Raleigh for an afternoon of hands-on activities related to energy.  A special family-friendly exhibitions tour will take place at 2:00 p.m. Family Sunday activities are free with admission. CAM Raleigh members and children 10 and under are granted free admission.


Raleigh Solar Bike Ride: 12-4pm

Come join us on a bike tour that will go by several solar installations, with tours at one installation downtown and one at the PNC Arena. Registration is $10, and includes museum admission to FORM SPECIAL. The bike ride will leave at 1pm.  To register, go to:


Future events & speaker series


Friday, July 20th: 6:30pm

Paula Thomas, Director of Sustainability for the City of Raleigh will speak about the status of clean energy in North Carolina and the steps Raleigh has taken to become a sustainable city.


August 17: 8pm

AV Geeks screening on the history of solar energy


September 15th

Isaac Panzarella, Clean Power & Efficiency Manager for the N.C. Solar Center will speak about how North Carolina became an emerging leader in clean energy and the state of clean energy policy.



Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh

409 W. Martin Street, Raleigh, NC 27603



Andy Hall’s innovative exhibit includes T.G.I.F., a neon sign powered by a solar panel that diverts sun energy into a battery and Fresh Watts, a solar-powered karaoke machine. His work emphasizes the advancements made in photovoltaics and solar thermal technology.  The partnership between CAM Raleigh and The N.C. Solar Center brings together the art, design, and energy communities in a public conversation that raises awareness of the new dynamic approaches needed to address our energy challenges.


For more information, go to:


Sponsors include:

SunPower Corporation for donation of a solar PV panel to power Andy Hall’s art work:


Supporters include:

City of Raleigh and the NC Sustainable Energy Association



About CAM Raleigh:

CAM Raleigh is a non-collecting museum that explores what’s now and presents an always-changing museum experience. FORM SPECIAL is organized by CAM Raleigh. It is curated by Elysia Borowy-Reeder, executive director of CAM Raleigh and coordinated at CAM Raleigh by Kate Shafer, gallery and exhibitions manager. CAM Raleigh is a collaboration between the Contemporary Art Foundation, the community of Raleigh and North Carolina State University’s College of Design. CAM Raleigh is generously supported by the Contemporary Art Foundation, North Carolina State University, individual and corporate members, private and corporate foundations, and government agencies. Information about CAM Raleigh’s exhibitions, programs, and special events is available on the CAM Raleigh website at Twitter: @camraleigh


About the N.C. Solar Center:

The North Carolina Solar Center, at N.C. State University, advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. The N.C. Solar Center serves as a resource for innovative, clean energy technologies through demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. It also administers the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a resource providing financial incentives and policies. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: Twitter: @NCSolarCenter



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

Elysia Borowy-Reeder, CAM Raleigh, 919-513-7200,