Archive for April, 2014

N.C. Solar Center wins City of Raleigh’s 2014 Environmental Regional Award

Posted on: April 30th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments

The City of Raleigh recognized individuals and organizations committed to preserving and improving the environment at its seventh annual Environmental Awards celebration Tuesday evening, April 22 at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. More than 200 people attended.

The N.C. Solar Center’s Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series won the City of Raleigh’s 2014 Regional environmental Award.  “We are very excited and honored to win this prestigious award from the City of Raleigh,” said Maria O’Farrell, training program manager at the Center. “The Diploma Series is turning 10 this year, and this is a great way to celebrate what the program has accomplished.”


The Diploma Series Turns 10


The Diploma Series, as it is now called, is an award-winning program recognized by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Institute of Sustainable Power Quality (IREC ISPQ) as offering  Accredited Training Programs for photovoltaic and solar thermal.


“The Solar Center had always offered solar workshops since its inception,” said Steve Kalland, Executive Director, who also birthed the idea of a series of intensive workshops.  “But, there needed to be a program that catered not just to the enthusiastic homeowner, but more importantly to the professional who wanted renewables to be part of their portfolio of services.”


The program has changed a lot since that rainy fall week in 2004. For one, it has doubled its course offerings from four to eight. It now includes the Certificate in Renewable Energy Management, a project development course, and through a partnership with EverBlue, has started offering BPI and RESNET certificate courses.


Throughout the years, the Center has also introduced customized training to bring renewable energy education around the region. It has collaborated with the Northeast Workforce Development Board to bring at least four week-long courses to Edenton, North Carolina. It has developed custom training to utility personnel from Duke Energy to Fayetteville PWC, and has delivered workshops to military facilities in Norfolk, Virginia and Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. In addition, the Center has hosted several company training, such as SunPower, SolarWorld, and Advanced Green Technologies.


Join us this year as we celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Renewable Energy Technologies Diploma Series. We will be highlighting many of our esteemed alumni and letting you in on the many ways you can get continuing education and certifications.


For more information, contact Maria O’Farrell at or call 919-523-8888.

N.C. Solar Center Releases Residential Customer Guides to Going Solar

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments


Raleigh, N.C. – As part of its work under the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, the N.C. Solar Center today announces the release of two new original resources: A Residential Customer’s Guide to Going Solar: Duke Energy Carolinas version and A Residential Customer’s Guide to Going Solar: Duke Energy Progress version.

North Carolina was ranked second in the nation for installed solar capacity in 2013, installing 400 MW of new capacity and climbing up three places from 2012 (according to the NPD Solarbuzz North American PV Markets Quarterly report). Most of this capacity in North Carolina comes from utility-scale solar installations, which highlights an opportunity to advance solar even more in the state by focusing on rooftop installations. These guides will support this effort by educating customers about solar and clarifying many of the misconceptions about the cost of going solar.

The guides focus on explaining, in easy to understand terms, the different financial options available to homeowners interested in going solar. These are broken up into incentives that reduce the upfront cost of going solar, such as tax credits and Duke Energy Progress’ SunSense program, and payback options that credit you for the energy produced by your solar photovoltaic (PV) system, like net metering and N.C. GreenPower.

In addition to a description of these options, the guides include a detailed analysis of the monthly and long-term utility bill savings that each option provides to the typical homeowner, using data specific to North Carolina cities. This allows customers to get an idea of how much a solar system costs in their particular region after all available incentives are factored in, as well as what kind of utility bill savings a typical PV owner in their area sees.

Overall, the guides show that with an average-sized residential system at typical market prices, customers of Duke Energy in North Carolina can save up to an average of $55/ month for the next 25 years on their utility bill with a system that can cost as little as $4,000, after incentives.

Versions of the guides can be viewed here: Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress. For more information about the Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, please visit


About the North Carolina Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: Twitter: @NCSolarCenter


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

Durham school’s solar project draws attention from politicos

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments


Can hanging out with local fourth graders inspired by solar power change the way Washington addresses the energy sector? Maybe.

Durham’s Central Park School for Children recently teamed up with King Brothers Electric Co. and Carolina Solar Energy to install a solar panel unit on the school’s roof, and next is a wind turbine.

Aaron Sebens’ fourth grade class recently toured one of Carolina Solar Energy’s utility-scale solar farms. The Durham-based solar energy company, which has eight utility-scale projects in surrounding counties, draws power across 30 or more acres of panels at a time. The small business employs four people and uses contractors for installations.

“We helped (the school) figure out what permitting it needed,” says Carson Harkrader of Carolina Solar Energy. “We acted as an adviser.”

Environment North Carolina, a statewide, citizen-funded environmental group, brought N.C. Congressmen G.K. Butterfield and David Price to the school on Wednesday to see the kids’ energy project, in the hopes they would take the kids’ message to Washington, D.C.

“Through this project and campaign, these young people showed us that using solar energy and finding solutions to meet our country’s energy needs is achievable when communities work together,” Butterfield says. “Renewable energy and energy diversity are critical to our future global competitiveness.”

To fund the project, the class launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised $5,800.


<a href=”” target=”_blank”>Triangle Business Journal</a>

N.C. Smart Fleet program announced

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments


State-wide program aims to recognize fleets for their efficiency efforts

Raleigh, N.C. – With gas prices on the rise, the N.C. Solar Center is announcing the launch of N.C. Smart Fleet, an initiative to recognize North Carolina fleets for efficiency efforts, as well as clean transportation technology and policy adoption. N.C. Smart Fleet provides an opportunity for both public and private sector fleets to quantify, aggregate and celebrate all that they are doing for air quality and fuel efficiency. With an eye towards reducing petroleum fuel use, increasing awareness and implementing cleaner burning alternative transportation fuels and idle reduction technologies, the program will require tracking of the fleet’s annual fuel use, outreach activities and internal fleet procedures.

Benefits of joining N.C. Smart Fleet include statewide recognition by the N.C. Department of Transportation at the Center’s annual Mobile Clean Air Renewable Energy (CARE) awards event, promotion of technologies and policies that can save fleet’s money and reduce emissions, networking opportunities and technical assistance. “The N.C. Solar Center is pleased to have the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Department, and Waste Industries join N.C. Smart Fleet as inaugural members and look forward to other fleets both large and small joining throughout the year” announced Anne Tazewell, Transportation Program Manager at the N.C. Solar Center. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. No previous experience with alternative fuels or commitment to reduced fuel use is required. N.C. Smart Fleet application and overview information is available at

The N.C. Smart Fleet initiative is a statewide effort led by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University. The Center has partnered with regional organizations Centralina Council of Governments, Land of Sky Council of Governments, Kerr Tar Council of Governments, Piedmont Triad Regional Council, Triangle J Council of Governments and Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments to support regional fleet efforts.


Click here for more details.


About the N.C. Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices, and policies. It serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through technology demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center visit: Twitter: @NCSolarCenter

2014 N.C. Sustainable Energy Conference – register now!

Posted on: April 4th, 2014 by shannonhelm No Comments


Don’t miss the N.C. Energy Program’s 11th N.C. Sustainable Energy Conference, April 22 & 23 at N.C. State University’s ’s McKimmon Center in Raleigh. This year’s program will cover a broad range of topics and interest as well as including a display of alternative fuel vehicles. Subject areas will range from growing energy jobs, exploring new resources to developing renewable solar, wind, biomass and more.

The N.C. Solar Center is a proud sponsor of the conference, and will be exhibiting and participating with panel sessions.


Conference keynote speakers include:
• Richard G. Newell, Gendell Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University and Director of Duke’s university-wide Energy Initiative. He was head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the agency responsible for official U.S. government energy statistics and analysis, until 2011.
• Greer Tidwell, Director of Environmental Management for Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire. The company’s tire manufacturing plants are all ISO 14001 certified and all six U.S. plants are in EPA’s National Performance Track Program.
• Rob Caldwell, vice president of renewable generation development for Duke Energy’s Regulated Utilities organization. He is responsible for developing the company’s regulated utilities policies and strategies, driving activities related to renewable generation and executing existing responsibilities related to renewable energy compliance.
• Donald Van der Vaart is the State Energy Policy Advisor within the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


Register online