Technical and Economic Analysis of Rooftop Solar PV For New Hanover County Schools and Green Power of North Carolina

The Solar in Your Community (SIYC) Challenge is a U.S. Dept. of Energy initiative to support innovative and replicable community-based solar business models and programs that will bring solar to underserved communities (such as schools, non-profits and low-income households). Through the SIYC Challenge, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center has been contracted by Green Power of North Carolina (GPNC), a Greenville, NC solar installation company and SIYC team, to conduct a “Technical Analyses of North Carolina Solar PV Sites for Schools.”

The purpose of the report is to assist New Hanover County Schools (NHCS) with the decision-making process for installing solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays on the rooftops of public school buildings in New Hanover County, North Carolina.

New Hanover County Schools has 41 schools and seven administrative buildings in North Carolina that serve over 26,000 students. New Hanover is a large energy user and would potentially benefit from the installation of renewable solar PV systems on the rooftops of buildings located on these campuses.

The economics for solar PV installations in North Carolina has changed over the recent past; construction cost for solar has come down significantly, but so have incentives for the electricity generated by solar PV. However, new incentives have recently become available in North Carolina that make PV economics more attractive. Through this analysis, the authors intend to provide an assessment of solar PV for select rooftops at New Hanover, using up to date performance, cost and incentive information.

Solar in your Community (SIYC) is a U.S. Department of Energy sponsored $5 million prize competition that aims to expand solar electricity access to all Americans, especially underserved segments such as low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, state, local, and tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations, such as schools.

For eighteen months (through September 2018), the challenge is supporting teams across the country to develop projects and programs that expand solar access to underserved groups, while proving that these business models can be widely replicated and adopted by similar groups. In addition to teams, the challenge supports technical assistance providers (consultants and coaches) that assist teams by providing resources to develop their business models. The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) is a contracted consultant through the SIYC challenge and Green Power North Carolina is a registered team who has received cash vouchers to contract for technical assistance services through the SIYC Marketplace.

Read the full report here.