Our staff work on many different projects that span across clean energy technologies and program areas at the Center. These projects usually come in the form of annual or multi-year grant projects or custom services that require specific expertise and knowledge from a diverse group of staff members. Below we highlight some of our current and previous projects:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has provided funds to NCCETC that covers 75 percent of the cost for each assessment with the intent of reducing the burden on farmers and other rural businesses to explore the viability of potentially cost-saving renewable energy. Over the next two years, NCCETC will provide renewable energy assessments and related technical assistance to eligible facilities for technologies including biomass, geothermal for electric generation or direct use, small and large solar generation including solar-plus-storage, small and large wind generation, and hydrogen.
The Community Solar for the Southeast project, funded by the Department of Energy, aims to accelerate the installation of community solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at municipal and cooperative electric utilities across the southeast. Community solar projects are ground-mounted PV systems that are generally smaller than other utility-scale solar projects. They are large enough to provide low-cost solar electricity, yet they are small enough to be more flexible about where they can be located, allowing the utility to better take advantage of localized benefits that they can provide. The Center is a project partner helping to grow and expand community solar across the southeast.
The Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) project is funded by the N.C. Department of Transportation and administered by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center. The CFAT project is focused on reducing transportation related emissions and operates in counties that are in maintenance status regarding National Ambient Air Quality Standards..
“Planning an Affordable, Resilient, and Sustainable Grid in North Carolina” (PARSG) is a joint two-year project between the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC), and the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC). The project will include opportunities for interested stakeholders to review the metrics developed by the research team and to provide input into an increased resilience grid scenario focused on enabling a more decentralized resilient grid, including micro/mini grids that can support critical services, such as hospitals, in the case of power outages.
NCCETC’s Energy That Works Series – a project supported by the North Carolina State University Sustainability Fund – includes a Field Trip Series, Renewable Energy Training Program, a student internship opportunity at NCCETC, and a creation of planning group meetings comprised of students, faculty and staff to support planning and outreach. The project’s goal is to facilitate meaningful dialogue across disciplines about the importance of clean energy and its role in creating a sustainable future, and increase coordination among energy efforts at NC State University.
Below are Center projects that have been completed over recent years. Center staff are proud to have collaborated with many different stakeholders to bring these projects to fruition.
Solar-Plus for Electric Co-ops (SPECs) was launched in 2020 to help optimize the planning, procurement, and operations of battery storage and solar-plus-storage for electric cooperatives. SPECs was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for Round 2 of the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN). NCCETC partnered with Cliburn and Associates, LLC to develop the early stage decision model. The model serves as a tool for distribution utilities, such as electric cooperatives and municipalities, to explore the costs and benefits associated with deploying a solar and storage project.
Particle Falls is an outdoor art installation designed by artist Andrea Polli that displays in close to real time the quality of the air that we are breathing. An air quality sensor at street level detects the amount of particulate matter in the air and projects that data onto a nearby building in the form of specks of yellow, orange, and red specks. This makes visible the invisible air pollution that we are breathing and allows the public to see the relative air quality at a given moment. This exhibit is designed to help the public consider choices they can make to improve air quality, including biking, walking, and using alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric vehicles. The Center has co-sponsored the exhibit together with Clean Air Carolina in Winston-Salem most recently and Raleigh prior to that.
The Alternative Fuel Implementation Team (AFIT) was a two year initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to enhance implementation of alternative fuel in North Carolina and neighboring states. The purpose of the project was to reduce barriers to more widespread adoption of alternative transportation fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, natural gas and propane.
CBS was a bi-state effort led by Triangle J Council of Governments (TJCOG). The overall goal was to reduce depending on imported petroleum, increase fleet fuel economy, reduce emissions, improve air quality and create and retain jobs in North and South Carolina. The Center, along with the Centralina Council of Governments, Land of Sky Council of Governments, and South Carolina State Energy Office worked with TJCOG to implement over 50 sub-award projects in North and South Carolina.
The NCCETC and the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) managed the development of this template ordinance and the organization of the drafting working group. The working group consisted of representatives of the solar industry, local North Carolina planners, State Farm Bureau, N.C. Department of Agriculture, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), N.C. Association of County Commissioners, N.C. League of Municipalities, military, University of North Carolina School of Government, N.C. Conservation Network, Duke Energy Progress, North Carolina State University Forestry, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and many others. Click here for the template.
This was a two year project with a goal to develop a data and mapping tool to increase energy efficiency and effectiveness of energy programs supporting low income households in five North Carolina counties: Wilson, Edgecombe, Nash, Northampton and Halifax. Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the project was a collaboration of the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, NCCETC, NCSU Center for Geospatial Analystics, and System Design Optimization Lab, NC Sustainable Energy Association, Vermont Law School, NC Justice Center and the University of South Carolina. Data providing partners included: Roanoke Electric Cooperative, Wilson Energy, NC Dept of Environmental Quality Weatherization Assistance Program, the NC Dept of Health & Human Services Energy Programs and the Town of Enfield.
North Carolina’s power sector faces a rapidly increasing penetration of renewable energy as well as economic and environmental pressures to decrease coal production. Energy storage may present an attractive solution to ensure reliable service, decrease costs to rate payers, and reduce the environmental impacts of electricity production. Given the complexity of grid operations, however, the impacts of using energy storage to achieve these goals should be rigorously evaluated. The NC General Assembly recently passed HB589, titled “Competitive Energy Solutions for NC,” which requires the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory to undertake a study on energy storage technology and its potential benefit to North Carolina consumers. NC State University’s objective is to generate a white paper that provides clear policy guidance to the NC General Assembly, NC Utilities Commission, and the NC Energy Policy Council, informed by stakeholder engagement and the application of open and transparent modeling tools. NC State has assembled a team with deep expertise in energy systems modeling, power systems operation, economics, policy evaluation, and energy extension and outreach. NCCETC staff are proud to be a part of this team to help advance energy storage technologies.
Keep up with the Center’s work and with industry news, by receiving one or all of our newsletters. The Center newsletter provides an overview in all areas, while program area specific newsletters dive a little deeper into their respective areas. Sign up today to stay in the loop!
Enhance your skills or begin a career change with one of our training classes! The Center offers several training opportunities for professional development and the highest level of continuing education in renewable energy technologies. Get started today.