Archive for June, 2013

N.C. Solar Center and SEM Co-Founder Bob Kingery Team-Up To Offer Renewable Energy Management Program

Posted on: June 25th, 2013 by shannon No Comments

The N.C. Solar Center and Southern Energy Management Co-Founder Bob Kingery partner to offer Certificate in Renewable Energy Management

Raleigh, NC – For the second year in a row, the N.C. Solar Center and Southern Energy Management co-founder Bob Kingery are teaming up to offer a program focused around renewable energy project development and management. The Certificate in Renewable Energy Management (CREM) program is geared toward working and transitioning professionals interested in learning more about the technology, financing, and policy surrounding renewable energy development. Topics are presented across a 40 hour course that runs from September 12 through November 19 and is accessible both online and in the classroom. The program culminates in a final group project, where groups present projects varying from renewable energy exploration and feasibility studies to experimental product development and investment pitches.

The program’s continued success has hinged in large part on participation from local industry experts like Southern Energy Management’s (SEM) co-founder Bob Kingery. Founded in 2001, Mr. Kingery helped navigate Southern Energy Management to become one of the area’s premier solar energy firms. The level of experience that Mr. Kingery and other industry leaders bring to the CREM program helps provide invaluable market insights for program participants.

“A unique aspect of the CREM program was that it provided us with information on the present and future challenges facing the development and maturation of the renewable energy market from experienced professionals at a variety of different positions in the industry” said Will Etheridge, a graduate of the program and current member of the Customer Advocacy team at Southern Energy Management. “This information has helped prepare me, and others like me, for the real-world challenges involved in developing and managing renewable energy projects and technologies.”

Another program graduate, David Arney, wrote that, “[the CREM Program] was a perfectly balanced mix of renewable education, business class, and group-style working projects that I believe every student gained immensely from. I felt like this class truly was the ‘nugget’ of information I’d been looking for, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

For those interested in learning more about the N.C. Solar Center’s Certificate in Renewable Energy Management Program, please visit

Program Contact: Lyra Rakusin, N.C. Solar Center: (919) 513-7769
Media Contact: Sam Burner, SEM: or (866) 575-9151

About Southern Energy Management
Southern Energy Management is a North Carolina-based sustainable energy company offering energy efficiency testing, green building verification and turn-key solar services for homeowners, builders, and business owners across the Southeast. A certified B Corp, SEM’s two-part mission is to improve the way people make and use energy and to build a prosperous company that supports people and the planet. SEM is among a small handful of companies in the U.S. to earn the national ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award for being named Partner of the Year six consecutive times, in addition to being named a CED N..C Company to Watch in 2011 and receiving the 2011 City of Raleigh Environmental Stewardship Award. For more information, visit

About the N.C. Solar Center
The North Carolina Solar Center, at N.C. State University, is a public service center with the mission of advancing 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, visit

Serving Critical Infrastructure with Microgrids, Combined Heat & Power and Solar PV

Posted on: June 25th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


A recently released report, “Combined Heat and Power: Enabling Resilient Energy Infrastructure for Critical Facilities[1] offers examples of critical infrastructure facilities that maintained onsite electric and thermal services during Superstorm Sandy with combined heat and power (CHP).  Critical infrastructure (CI) collectively refers to those assets, systems, and networks that, if incapacitated, would have a substantial negative impact on national or regional security, economic operations, or public health and safety.  While Superstorm Sandy caused extended power outages along the east coast of the United States, these and other critical facilities in the affected area with CHP were able continue their operations despite the emergency status of the power grid. The report was prepared for Oak Ridge National Laboratory by ICF International and several of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Regional Clean Energy Application Centers (CEACs), including the Southeast CEAC managed by the N.C. Solar Center.  Besides offering examples of how actual CHP facilities performed, the report contains information on the strategic application of CHP systems to provide CI facilities with reliable power, as well as state and local policies that promote this application.

Along with enhanced disaster resiliency, CHP systems for CI facilities deliver energy efficiency and cost savings to end users, local utilities, and the electric grid on the whole.  During normal operation, combined heat and power systems operate at an average efficiency of 80% or higher, compared to an average of 45% for utility grid power and onsite thermal generation.  An independent localized grid, termed a microgrid, enables CHP-powered CI facilities to island from the utility grid in anticipation of an emergency.  During such times, microgrids with CHP can maintain utilities for CI facilities without demand for grid power, freeing utility power resources to serve other needs until the grid is restored to full capacity.  Development of a CHP based microgrid for a CI facility, such as a hospital, institutional campus or government facility establishes reliable onsite base load infrastructure that can be complemented with intermittent distributed energy resources, such as solar photovoltaics (PV).  A district energy system provides the infrastructure necessary to distribute heating and cooling to CI facilities in a campus setting.  Great care must be taken to analyze the facility’s electric and thermal needs, and select the combination of CHP, district energy and other DG resources to reliably and cost-effectively provide the desired CI energy infrastructure.

Several of the facilities described in the report “Combined Heat and Power: Enabling Resilient Energy Infrastructure for Critical Facilities” utilize the effective design and technological benefits of an integrated CHP and solar PV microgrid system.


  • South Oaks Hospital is a 245-bed healthcare facility located near Long Island in Amityville, NY, that operates a 1.25 MW CHP system coupled with a 47 KW PV solar system.  On During Superstorm Sandy South Oaks isolated itself from the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) grid on and remained disconnected from the grid for approximately fifteen days.  During this time, the Hospital admitted patients from other sites that had been displaced by the storm and offered refrigeration for vital medicines to those who had lost power and had no means of keeping medicines refrigerated.  At the request of the utility, the Sandy Oaks remained islanded, despite the partial restoration of local power, affording the utility time to restore the grid to normal.


  • Princeton University operates a 15 MW CHP system integrated with a 5.3 MW solar PV system.  The CHP system produces electricity, steam, and chilled water for the campus, and during Superstorm Sandy the University was able to continue normal operations by disconnecting from the grid and relying on its CHP microgrid district energy system to power the campus.  Non-critical loads around campus such as administration buildings and some classrooms were shut off to keep the CHP system within its generating capability.  The CHP based microgrid system supplied campus with needed energy for three days until the University was able to receive power from the macro utility grid.


  • The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command in Twentynine Palms, CA  (MCAGCC) operates a 7.2 MW CHP system that is complimented by a 4.8 MW solar PV system and 1.0 MW of fuel cells. By the end of 2013, an additional 9.2 MW of CHP will be operational, for a total of 16.4 MW of CHP.  “Strategic energy planning is a key component of our master plan,” says Commander Rob Tye, head of the facilities management division at Twentynine Palms.  “[The CHP system] is helping us treat energy as a resource rather than as an expense.” (cite CI CHP report) Since the installation of the CHP system, capable of operating independent of the grid, the base has had to disconnect from the utility grid to operate in “island mode” a number of times due to curtailment by Southern California Edison.


State and local policymakers in the Northeast and other areas are considering CHP and solar PV-powered microgrids as a strategic resource for strengthening CI facilities against future storm events.  An example of recent legislation supporting the use of CHP as CI was recently passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 14, 2013.  HB 1864[2] instructs the Texas Energy Conservation Office to issue guidelines for conducting feasibility analysis of CHP for government facilities meeting the definition of CI.  These analyses are already required under legislation passed in 2012, and these new guidelines will establish clear criteria for decisions on whether to implement CHP based on cost / benefit ratios.

The N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Power and Industrial Efficiency (CPIE) team supports advanced deployment of microgrid powered CHP and other distributed energy resources through it’s work on the DOE Southeast CEAC and other strategic initiatives.  At the 2012 N.C.  Sustainable Energy Conference, the N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Power team organized a panel session describing the roles and capabilities of CHP systems in microgrid systems.  This year, at the same conference, the session topic grew into a separate, pre-conference Smart Grid Forum that focused heavily on microgrid applications.  The CPIE team works increase awareness of market opportunities to develop this transformative technology by working alongside the N.C. Solar Center’s Renewable Energy program on technical assistance efforts, and working with the Research Triangle CleanTech Cluster[3] on awareness of policies that promote applications of microgrids with CHP.

[1] Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ICF International and DOE Clean Energy Application Centers, March 2013; available at

[2] “An Act relating to certain energy security technologies for critical governmental facilities”, Texas Legislature;


Forum on Solar Development & Siting in North Carolina: June 27 – Greensboro, NC

Posted on: June 18th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


(Presented jointly by the NC Solar Center & the NC Sustainable Energy Association)



Join the NC Solar Center and the NC Sustainable Energy Association for the second in a series of five public forums designed specifically to spark critical information sharing on the technical, social, and environmental aspects of solar projects.


Date: Thursday, June 27, 2013

Time: 4:00 PM – 7:30 PM


Proximity Hotel
704 Green Valley Road
Greensboro, NC 27408

Register today



Following this event, subsequent meetings are planned for the following locations:

Thursday, August 8, 2013 | 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
The Venue
21 North Market St
Asheville, NC 28801

Register today


Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Carolina Civic Center
315 North Chestnut Street
Lumberton, NC  28359

Register today


Charlotte:  October (date & location coming soon)


North Carolina has experienced dynamic growth in solar photovoltaic system development; much of it in rural areas of North Carolina where jobs have been created and tax bases have grown.  Still, there is limited education for the general public, land owners, and local governments on facilitating this type of development in a way that harmonizes with local needs.  Though some towns and counties have already passed their own solar ordinances to provide a useful guide for the development of solar projects, many others have not. These areas can benefit greatly from an improved understanding of solar project basics.  Industry and extra-industry stakeholders can advance this goal and also serve to provide a template for the permitting of solar energy facilities.  We encourage your attendance at this dynamic and informative event.


Seating is Limited:  Register today


 Agenda  – Greensboro, NC

3:30 – 4:00 PM  Check-in/Registration
4:00 – 4:15 PM  Welcome/Introduction and Overview:
Miriam Makhyoun, NC Sustainable Energy Association
Tommy Cleveland, NC Solar Center
Michael Fucci, NC Sustainable Energy Association

4:15 – 5:00 PM   General Discussion:  Representatives from legal (Katherine Ross, Associate Attorney, Parker Poe), agriculture (Paul Sherman, Air & Energy Programs Director at North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation), planning community (Les Egers, Deputy Planning Director for the Guilford County Planning Commission and Dervin Spell, Planner and Deputy LDO Administrator for Granville County Development Services Planning Division), and government (Michael Brown, Property Valuation Specialist, NC Department of Revenue).

Moderated by Adam Lovelady of the UNC School of Government


5:00 – 5:20 PM   Break

5:20 – 5:30 PM   Presentation on Smaller-Scale Solar Permitting by Bob Kingery, Co-Founder & President, Southern Energy Management
5:30 – 6:30 PM   Solar Industry Panel: Donna Robichaud, President at QF Solutions LLC, Bob Kingery, Co-Founder & President, Southern Energy Management, Paul Brucke, Solar Project Manager at Black and Veatch, Lance Williams, Manager of Site Development at Strata Solar

Moderated by Miriam Makhyoun, NCSEA


6:30 -7:00 PM   Tour Proximity Hotel, NC Green LEED Platinum Luxury Hotel:

7:00 -7:45 PM   Networking:

Live text polling will take place throughout the event to inform the drafting of a template solar ordinance for North Carolina communities to adopt.

Seating is Limited:   Register today

Benefits of Attendance
  • Gain an understanding of local development and permitting processes.
  • Learn about stakeholder values regarding solar energy facilities and land use.
  • Learn how solar affects local communities.
  • Explore best practices for solar siting.
  • Network with energy leaders, consumers, planners and many others.
  • Participate in break-out session and panel discussion.
  • Inform the process of developing a template ordinance for solar energy facilities in North Carolina for local governments.
  • Hear from experienced individuals who own land and knowledgeable professionals from an array of backgrounds.


Attendee Profile
  • Electric Utilities and Independent Power Producers
  • Local, State and Federal Government Officials and Staff
  • Clean Energy Business Owners and Employees
  • Planning Agencies, Energy Advisors and Consultants
  • Clean Energy Architects, Engineers and Construction Representatives
  • Community College and University Researchers
  • Commercial and Industrial Energy Customers
  • Clean Energy Technology Adopters, Site Owners and Managers
  • Manufacturers of Renewable Energy Systems
  • Clean Energy System Integrators
  • Start-up Entrepreneurs

For Sponsorship Information, contact

For General Information on public fora or the drafting of the template solar ordinance, contact:

Tommy Cleveland, PE
Solar Energy Engineer
North Carolina Solar Center
N.C. State University
919.515.9432 (office)


Miriam Makhyoun
Clean Energy Industry Specialist,
NC Sustainable Energy Association
Office:  (919)-832-7601 x114

New tool compares fuel costs for electric & non-electric cars

Posted on: June 18th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


A new tool on the US Department of Energy’s website allows users in each state to compare the price of power for an electric car to the cost of driving the same distance using gasoline. In North Carolina, a gallon of regular, unleaded fuel costs an average of $3.41. The equivalent amount of electricity costs about a third of that- an average of $1.02. That’s 12 cents less than the national average.
Patrick Davis with the Energy Department says the tool is designed to inform people about the actual costs of driving an electric vehicle.

“Consumers are very used to and comfortable with understanding what the price of gasoline means to them, we felt that they were less comfortable and knew less about what it costs to run an electric drive vehicle and this tool helps them do that,” Davis says.

Davis says the cost of electricity is more stable than gasoline prices, which can be affected by international events.


Written by WUNC/NC Public Radio

U.S. Solar Market Insight Q1 2013

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


The latest Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Solar Market Insight™ report for Q1 2013 details a total of 8.5 gigawatts of solar electric capacity operating in the U.S (PV+CSP).

That’s enough solar energy to power more than 1.3 million average U.S. households.

Download the FREE Executive Summary now.

A few key facts from the report include:


  • The U.S. installed 723 megawatts (MW) in Q1 2013, which accounted for over 48 percent of all new electric capacity installed in the U.S. last quarter. Overall, these installations represent the best first quarter of any given year for the industry.


  • California installed more new solar PV on residential homes than ever before.


  • In Arizona, 86% of all residential PV installed in Q1 2013 was installed through third-party ownership systems, like solar leasing.


To hear more of the report results firsthand, please join SEIA and GTM Research on Thursday, June 27 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for a free webinar. We’ll cover key report findings and what they mean for the industry. Register now.

Get the Executive Summary now, or purchase the full report to get more detail on the findings.


Ikea Charlotte plugs in solar system

Posted on: June 6th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


Ikea Charlotte has completed installation and “plugged in” the 1.1-megawatt solar-energy system atop its store in the University area, according to a news release from the Swedish home-furnishings retailer.

The 122,000-square-foot photovoltaic array consists of 4,228 solar panels on the roof of the 356,000-square-foot store. The system is expected to produce 1.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to power about 140 homes, Ikea says in its news release.

Swedish retailer IKEA has completed the installation of a solar-energy system on the roof of its Charlotte store.


With the completion of the Charlotte project, the company has solar installations on 39 of its 44 U.S. facilities.

Ikea owns and operates the systems on its store rooftops, as opposed to a more common solar lease program or power-purchase agreement. The company has a goal of being energy-independent by 2020, and its solar installations as well as more than 100 wind turbines it has in Europe are part of that initiative.

“The installation of solar panels at Ikea Charlotte is another way we can build upon our ongoing commitment to sustainability,” says Richard Castanon, Charlotte store manager. “At Ikea, we believe in creating a better every life for the many people, so investing in renewable energy helps contribute to that goal.”

The company contracted with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp. for the development, design and installation of the Charlotte store’s solar-power system. Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE:DUK) is also a partner on the project; state law requires that excess power produced by such systems be sold to the resident utility.

The store, which opened in 2009, is located on 25 acres off Interstate 85 in northeast Charlotte.


Written by the Charlotte Business Journal

Governor McCrory proclaims June solar energy month in North Carolina

Posted on: June 4th, 2013 by shannon No Comments


Raleigh, NC– Governor Pat McCrory announced today that he has proclaimed June as Solar Energy Month in North Carolina, stressing the role the growing industry is playing in creating jobs and helping make our state and nation energy independent.

“North Carolina is home to one of the fastest growing solar industries in our nation,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “It is important that we recognize the impact the solar industry is making in our state, not only in terms of being another valuable piece to an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan, but also the high-quality jobs the industry creates for hardworking North Carolinians.”

Governor McCrory was joined by Strata Solar CEO Markus Wilhelm for the proclamation announcement at Strata Solar in Willow Spring, North Carolina.

The solar energy sector is expanding throughout the state, with solar farms, plants, manufacturing equipment for the solar industry, and workers installing and maintaining both large and small scale solar facilities creating critical jobs for North Carolinians. North Carolina currently has more than 500 companies working in the solar industry, and they employ about 2,000 workers.

Since 2007, more than $743 million has been invested in the solar industry, creating jobs and providing solar photovoltaic development and infrastructure.  Today more than 229 megawatts of solar energy are currently installed throughout North Carolina – sixth in the nation.

Click here to view and download a copy of the proclamation.