General

How do I schedule a NCSU Solar House tour?

The Center no longer manages the NCSU Solar House. If you are interested learning more about the house, please visit: https://www.engr.ncsu.edu/theengineeringplace/the-solar-house/

Our school or organization has a STEM or Sustainability Day, can the Center participate or send speakers?

Due to a tightened state budget, Center staff are not available to speak at K-12 events. The NC State Engineering Place is focused on K-12 STEM education and may be able to provide speakers or suppport for your event. Please contact the Engineering Place at https://www.engr.ncsu.edu/theengineeringplace/

Can I be an intern at the Center?

We love interns! The Center does have an intern program. Currently, the intern program is designed for undergraduate and gradute students attending local universities. There are limited opportunities for high school students and recent college graduates. If you are interested in becoming an intern, please contact Allison Carr.

What is NABCEP and how do I become certified?

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners® (NABCEP®) is the most respected, well-established and widely recognized international certification organization for professionals in the field of renewable energy. NABCEP offers certifications and credentials for skilled professionals, specialists and those new to working in the areas of photovoltaics, solar heating, and small wind technologies. NABCEP offers a NABCEP PV Associate Credential for those starting out in the industry. As a NABCEP Registered Associate Provider, you are eligible to sit for this exam after completing the 40-hour FSPV: Fundamentals of Solar PV Design and Installation training. NABCEP also offers six PV professional certifications such as the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification and PV Technical Sales Certification. All of NCCETC’s solar training courses count towards the educational requirements to qualify for these six credentials. Interested in a certification? Contact the Training Team to figure out your best path to get there!

Are any prerequisites required before taking a course?

Our courses are open to anyone and everyone, regardless of experience or background! If you are new to the solar industry, we recommend beginning with FSPV: Fundamentals of Solar PV Design and Installation or REPD: Renewable Energy Project Development which do not have any prerequisite requirements. If you have solar industry experience, then you are welcome to take our more advanced and technical trainings such as ASPV: Advanced Solar PV Design and Installation, O&M: Operations and Maintenance of PV Systems, and Solar Storage. These courses require that you have taken an entry-level solar course (such as FSPV), have a working knowledge of solar PV, or currently work in the industry.

Can I take just one course or do I have to take the entire Diploma Series?

You are welcome to take just one course, two, many, or all of them with us! However, please keep in mind that some of the more technical classes require that you have taken an entry-level solar course (such as FSPV: Fundamentals of Solar PV Design and Installation), have a working knowledge of solar PV, or currently work in the industry.

How long does it take to complete the Diploma Series?

It depends! Some people complete the Diploma Series in a few months and some people choose to spread the courses out over a year depending on their schedule and when the courses are offered. Take them at the rate that works best for you. There is not a time limit to complete the Diploma Series.

What's the difference between REPD and the Diploma Series?

REPD, or the Renewable Energy Project Development course, is a 9-week, 40-hour online course where you receive a certificate of completion from NC State after successfully completing the course. The Diploma Series requires 120-hours of training (40-hours could come from REPD) and you receive a non-degree diploma from NC State University after successfully completing the 120-hours of training.

Do you offer training courses out of state or online?

Yes! We can do custom training outside Raleigh, NC. We also offer REPD: Renewable Energy Project Development online for anyone outside the state, region, or country.

Can you create a custom training or bring the training to us?

We can do both! Check out our Customized Training page and contact the Training Team with any questions.

How do I register for individual courses or a package? Do I need to apply for admission to the University?

Registration is easy and admission to NC State or the program is not required. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER will take you to the training program’s registration page where you can register for one course or a package of courses, all from the same link.

Do you offer any payment plans or discounts for training courses?

Yes! Most of our training courses and all our packages have a three month installment payment option. The payment plan is tax-free and interest-free. The first payment must be made at the time of registration and the following two payments should be made on the first of the month for the following two months. You will receive a reminder email to make the following two payments and you will not receive credit for the course until full payment has been made. If you have any payment concerns or have a unique situation, please contact the Training Team for assistance.

What type of funding can I use to pay for training courses or do you offer any scholarships?

Due to our training courses being classified as part of a continuing education program, there are certain funding restrictions. However we are able to accept funds from the Americorps Education Award and NC 529 College Savings Program. We are currently in the process of applying to accept the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other veterans education benefits. If you have questions about specific sources of funding, please contact the Training Team for more information.

Unfortunately, we do not offer any scholarships at this time. If you are looking for funding opportunities, check in with your local workforce development board to see if you qualify for assistance.

What is your refund policy?

In the event you need to cancel, the following options are available:
– Substitute a colleague for the whole program with no charge or penalty
– Attend next scheduled class for no penalty or additional fee
– Cancel 14+ days before workshop – 95% refund
– Cancel 7-14 days before workshop – 50% refund
– Cancel 1-7 days before workshop – 25% refund
– Cancel first day of class or later – no refund

Does this training guarantee I will find a job?

We cannot guarantee that you will get a job after completing our training. However, we can give you the tools to make you a competitive candidate and connect you with our industry partners that are hiring. We also typically see a lot of networking happening within classes and you would have access to ask our instructors questions about different solar companies and how to be a more competitive candidate. All course participants are invited to join the NCCETC Training Program Alumni group on LinkedIn for continued networking.

I want to switch careers/begin working in the solar industry. Is your training program for me even if I don't have any solar or technical experience?

Yes! Whether you are looking to start as an installer, learn policy and finance, or go into tech sales, we have got you covered! Our courses are open to anyone and everyone, regardless of experience or background. We recommend beginning with FSPV: Fundamentals of Solar PV Design and Installation or REPD: Renewable Energy Project Development. These courses do not have any prerequisite requirements and provide the foundational information you need to begin working in the solar industry. If you are not sure which course to pick, just reach out to the Training Team and they will help you determine which courses are best for you.

I would like to incorporate more energy efficient technology or tools. Where can I go for assistance?

The NCCETC can provide energy assessments for industrial, institutional and commercial facilities. Additionally, if your facility is eligible for no-cost energy efficiency audits we can advise of grants that provide funding for these services. Please contact Art Samberg at asamber@ncsu.edu.edu or (919) 515-5959. If you are in need of a residential energy assessment, please start by contacting your electric utility.

I would like to talk with a project develper about a solar farm. Where do I start?

There are many resources available to help you explore solar farm development. Please visit our ‘Resources‘ section for a list of associations that provide information about companies and project developers that install various renewable energy applications. Additionally if you are a small rural business or an agricultural producer, we can provide no- or low-cost renewable energy assessments from funding we receive through USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

How do I install solar on my home?

Please visit our ‘Resources‘ section for a list of associations and other resources that provide information about solar PV system installation companies.

I would like to investigate the viability of incorporating renewable energy at my site. Where do I start?

The NCCETC can provide renewable energy assessments for industrial, institutional and commercial facilities. These assessments are key to determining the technical and economic viability of renewabble energy at a particular site. In addition, depending on the naturre of your site, the NCCETC may be able to proivide these asssessments at no cost, based on funding we receive from the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture. Please contact Art Samberg at asamber@ncsu.edu.edu or (919) 515-5959 for additional information

I have land I'd like to lease to solar developers. What are my options?

There are many resources available to help you explore leasing land for solar development. Please visit our ‘Resources‘ section for a list of associations that list project developers for various renewable energy applications.

I'm a renewable energy startup, what are some resources to help launch my venture?

Please visit our ‘Resources‘ link for information on new business start-up support organizations.

I would like help with creating sustainability goals and strategies to attain them. Where can I go for assistance?

For more information on the Center’s Energy and Sustainability Services, refer to this flyer.

Who performs the technical work that you do?

NCCETC has a number of engineers (including Profressional Engineers) and scientists on staff. Our full-time technical staff is augmented by full and part-time research assistants, including student interns, to maintain a strong link to the University and to provide students hands-on opportunities to support the ‘Think and Do’ philosophy.

What is combined heat and power and is my facility a good match for the application?

Combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration, is an efficient and clean approach to generating on-site electric power and useful thermal energy from a single fuel source. As a distributed energy source, CHP provides more efficient, reliable and resilient energy, usually at lower costs to industrial, commercial and institutional energy users. Facilities with a concurrent electric and thermal energy demand are potential candidates for CHP. Refer to the U.S. Department of Energy CHP TAP website for more information.

Why is CHP more efficient than conventional electricity generation?

CHP is a form of distributed generation, which is located at or near the facility consuming the energy, whereas conventional generation happens in larger power plants that are in a central location. CHP’s higher efficiency comes from recovering the heat that would normally be lost in power generation or processes to provide heating, cooling, or additional electricity to the site.

What kinds of facilities use CHP?

CHP can be used in a variety of applications that have large electric and thermal loads. A majority of existing CHP systems is found in the industrial sector, providing electricity and steam to chemicals, food processing, and manufacturing. CHP in commercial and institutional applications is currently 12 percent of existing capacity, providing reliable electricity, steam, and hot water to hospitals, universities, hotels, and office buildings.

Is my facility a good match for the application?

There are several factors that determine if a particular site is a good match for CHP. However, if your facility has a concurrent thermal and electric load, is located in an area that has frequent outages or voltage drops or if your operation requires a reliable energy source that can withstand grid outages, then CHP may be an option that should be evaluated. Additionally, CHP can be powered by a variety of fuels so that it has the ability to support long-term sustainability goals, especially as low carbon fuels become more readily available. For examples of facilities that have benefitted from CHP, see the national CHP project profile database. If you are interested in CHP please contact Art Samberg at asamber@ncsu.edu regarding no-cost resources the team provides to help navigate the viability of these applications.

Is CHP widely used in North Carolina?

Explore the CHP landscape in North Carolina with this 2017 fact sheet that includes an overview, current installations, technical potential, and economics of CHP. Utilizing data updated through December 2022, North Carolina currently has 62 combined heat and power sites, producing a total of 681.0 megawatts of electricity.

How can I utilize the resources of the US Department of Energy CHP TAP?

As the U.S. Department of Energy Southeast Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership, we provide no-cost qualification screenings, and advanced technical assistance to explore equipment or operational aspects based on client need. Refer to the CHP TAP website for more information.

Our team also provides education and outreach services through speaking engagements and formal presentations to utilities, trade associations and other stakeholder groups that have an interest in the benefits of deploying CHP applications, including increased resilience, cost-savings and emissions reductions.

Why drive an electric vehicle? Is an electric vehicle right for me?

EVs can be cheaper to run and maintain than a gas-powered car – no gas, oil changes, and fewer moving parts that need repair. Depending on your driving style and habits, an EV could save you over $1,300 a year in fuel savings alone.
EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions which results in less local pollution near roads and homes. Cleaner air means less disease, reducing your carbon footprint and helping to reduce harmful ozone pollution.
EVs are fueled with locally-generated electricity, not imported oil.
EVs have instant torque, feel smooth when driving, and don’t cause any vibration or noise.
There are dozens of EV models available to choose which one is right for you — ranging in price, brand, size, speed and more. EV prices vary when bought used. Brand new models can start around $30,000 though the prices varies considerably based on the make and model. Find more information on our website at https://nccleantech.ncsu.edu/?s=electric+vehicles, or at PlugInNC.com or FuelWhatMatters.org.

Can I make my daily commute with an electric vehicle? When and where do I charge?

Most new electric vehicles can travel 200-300 miles before needing a charge. While charging at your destination (like your workplace, school, or shopping center) is an option, many EV owners find it most convenient to charge overnight in their garage at home. DC Fast chargers are high-powered chargers that can be used on long car trips to quickly charge your vehicle. There are thousands of EV charging stations located throughout the US, all of which can be found on a map. You can find the location of chargers near you or along your travel route at: https://www.plugshare.com or https://afdc.energy.gov/stations.

How far can I drive an electric vehicle before I run out of fuel / battery charge?

There are several types of electric vehicles, including all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles(PHEVs) available today. Hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles combine gasoline engines and electric motors which allow vehicles to have a range equivalent to or greater than most vehicles on the road today. Newer models of electric vehicle range all provide 200-350 miles of range.

I want to buy an electric car. Where can I buy one? And where can I get more information?

Most car manufactuers offer plug-in hybrid and/or electric vehicle models. And many car manufactuers are planning to offer new and different options within the next four years. EVs and hybrid vehicles are available to buy from local car dealerships. Details about vehicles currently available in NC are listed at: http://www.pluginnc.com/vehicles/available-electric-vehicles-in-nc/. More information about purchasing EVs is available at: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/alternatives.shtml. And a list of available EV models can be accessed at: https://www.energy.gov/eere/electricvehicles/find-electric-vehicle-models.

What is propane autogas?

Propane, also known as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or propane autogas, is an alternative fuel that’s been used for decades to power light-, medium- and heavy-duty propane vehicles.
Interest in propane as an alternative transportation fuel stems from its domestic availability, high-energy density, relatively clean-burning qualities compared to gasoline or diesel, and relatively low cost. It is the world’s third most common transportation fuel, behind gasoline and diesel, and is considered an alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Learn more about propane on our website at https://nccleantech.ncsu.edu/?s=propane or at https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/propane.html.

What are natural gas vehicles?

Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are similar to gasoline or diesel vehicles with regard to power, acceleration, and speed. Two forms of natural gas are currently used in vehicles: compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Both are domestically produced, relatively low priced, and commercially available. Natural gas is an odorless, gaseous mixture of hydrocarbons—predominantly made up of methane (CH4). Light-duty vehicles running on conventional and shale natural gas can reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 15% (84% if running on RNG). Learn more about natural gas on our website at https://nccleantech.ncsu.edu/?s=natural+gas, or at https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/natural_gas.html.

What is biodiesel?

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured domestically from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease. It meets both the biomass-based diesel and overall advanced biofuel requirement of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Biodiesel is a domestically produced, clean-burning, renewable substitute for petroleum diesel. Using biodiesel as a vehicle fuel increases energy security, improves air quality and the environment, and provides safety benefits. Biodiesel can be blended with conventional diesel. The most common blend of biodiesel is B20, which is up to 20% biodiesel. Learn more on our website at https://nccleantech.ncsu.edu/?s=biodiesel or at https://www.afdc.energy.gov/fuels/biodiesel.html.

What is the business case for installing solar panels on my home or business?

If you are a customer of Duke Energy Carolinas or Duke Energy Progress, you can participate in their Solar Choice tariff. Commonly referred to as net metering, this option allows you to first use the power your system produces, and then get credited for any excess power you feed back on to the grid. You can go here for more information. If you are a customer of another utility, you will want to contact them to see if they offer net metering.

Do you have any advice for finding a solar installer?

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s Word to the Wise whitepaper has some helpful tips for picking a solar installer.

Are there any financial incentives for installing solar panels on my house?

The federal government has a 30% tax credit for installing solar panels on your house. You can review the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for additional incentives.

Are there any financial incentives for improving the efficiency of my house?

The federal government has a tax credit for certain energy efficient home improvements and equipment purchases. Your electric utility might also provide financial incentives for energy efficiency improvements. You can review the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for a complete listing. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act provided funding to states to administer two new rebate programs: the Home Efficiency Rebates (HER) Program and the Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates (HEAR) program. The North Caroliona State Energy Office anticipates launching these programs in 2024. Click here for more information.

Can my Homeowners Association prevent me from installing solar panels on my house?

North Carolina has a law that provides some protection against restrictive covenants that would prohibit, or have the effect of prohibiting, the installation of a solar collector. However, the law does allow covenants to prevent the insalltion of panels that would be visible from public areas.

What are the benefits of incorporating energy efficiency tools and technologies at my site?

Energy efficiency is one of the most practical approaches to reducing operational costs while at the same time reducing a facility’s overall environmental (including carbon) footprint. To learn more about the benefits of energy efficiency and project examples, visit the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency page. In addition, the Center’s Clean Power & Industrial Efficiency team can provide additinal information on energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities for your site.

I would like to incorporate more energy efficiency measures at my facility. Where do I start?

The Center’s Clean Power & Industrial Efficiency team can provide resources to assist with identifying energy efficiency measures based on your particular building’s use. In addition we can help determine potential opportunities for no-cost energy audits as well as funding opportunities to implement energy efficiency projects. Contact Art Samberg at asamber@ncsu for more information.

I am interested in residential energy efficiency opportunities. What are the first steps?

If you are in need of a residential energy assessment, please start by contacting your electric utility.
The NC Department of Environmental Quality has a webpage dedicated to residential energy efficiency that provides resources to assist in lowering residential energy bills. The site also contains information on assistance available through, for example, the NC Weatherization Assistance Program a grant-funded, income-based initiative that provides North Carolinians with a range of weatherization services.

What are examples of energy efficiency tools that are commonly used in industrial, institutional, and commercial applications?

Opportunities to incorporate energy efficiency are plentiful. Often we find that sites that implement an energy management system have a better understanding of overall consumption and when to use equipment during peak and off-peak hours.  Recommendations often include reducing compressed air leaks, incorporating variable frequency drives on high-consuming equipment and retrofitting to LED lighting.

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