Overview

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center at NC State University offers business, industry, government and utilities a suite of services aimed at optimizing sustainability and energy-related objectives.

The NC Clean Energy Technoloy Center (NCCETC) advances a sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating, and providing assistance to support clean energy technologies, practices and policies. The subject matter experts at the Center provide unbiased, data-driven, and technical fee-for-service energy solutions based upon the client’s specific needs. The team includes experts in clean energy, renewables, transportation, policy and workforce training, that work to provide comprehensive solutions.

For more information or to request a quote for services, use our contact form below, or contact:

Kimberly Conley (business/industry and utilities)
kimberly_conley@ncsu.edu / 919 515-0903, or

Anne Tazewell (government and nonprofit)
anne_tazewell@ncsu.edu / 919 513-7831.

To view or print our brochure, click here.

Services

The Center’s Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) can help your organization plan, evaluate, implement and report on a host of energy-related priorities through a variety of cross-cutting services.

Example Projects

Example Projects for Local Government
Example Projects for Business and Industry
Municipal Utility Solar Energy Program Development

Example Projects for Local Government

Virginia Solar Procurement Guide for Local Communities

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) conducted a survey of local governments in Virginia regarding solar procurement interests, and organized and conducted a SolSmart Virginia-wide cohort solar procurement meeting in Fairfax, with participation from over a dozen local governments. The workshop included speakers representing utility, distribution, solar developer and related nonprofit interests who presented on solar procurement opportunities. A pre-workshop report developed by the NCCETC on “Solar Procurement for SolSmart Communities in Virginia” provided an overview of all the potential solar procurement opportunities:  Municipal Aggregation, Municipal Net Metering, On-site Power Purchase Agreements, Sleeved Power Purchase Agreements, Virtual Power Purchase Agreements, Green Tariffs, Collective Equipment Purchasing (Solarize) Programs and Renewable Energy Credit Purchases.  A “closed door” facilitated discussion on aligned priorities followed the presentations, which ultimately resulted in the NCCETC developing  a “Step-by Step Solar Procurement Guide for Virginia Local Governments.”

 

Local Government Solar Policy Review

The Town of Apex, which operates its own municipal electric utility, requested a review of its solar policies to identify possible barriers to solar photovoltaics (PV) adoption for Apex residents. The NCCETC provided a review of relevant solar policies in North Carolina and identified policy items that might be impeding broad solar adoption. After receiving the analysis, Apex changed several of its policies, including:

  • Increasing the system size limit for net metering from 10 kW to 20 kW, in order to align with the size limit used by Duke Energy, to facilitate larger solar installations by residents.
  • Making it optional for solar PV customers to use time-of-use electricity rates. Previously, Apex had required solar PV customers to use time-of-use rates for their electric service. Although time-of-use rates are not inherently disadvantageous for solar PV customers, the requirement to use time-of-use rates may have discouraged customers from installing solar if they preferred to remain on standard electric rates.
  • Officially allowing policy customers to carry excess generation credits forward indefinitely. Previously, official policy had been that credits would reset at the end of the year; while this annual reset had not been conducted in practice, the policy change will provide more certainty to customers that credits will be available for as long as their accounts are open.

 

Solar Assessments for Schools and Local Government Buildings

To help organizations prioritize and evaluate the potential for rooftop solar PV on their buildings, individual “Economic and Technical Analysis of Rooftop Solar PV” reports were prepared for several North Carolina school systems including Chapel Hill-Carrboro and New Hanover County Schools, as well as for Wake Technical Community College as well as for Orange County. The analyses and final reports included:

  • Developing a model of available roof area for solar photovoltaics (PV) for a representative sample of the organization’s rooftops and an estimate of renewable energy production for each site. Based on Duke Energy solar PV rebates, each structure whose potential exceeded 100kW ( Duke rebate per installation limit) also had a 100kW model accompanying it.
  • Characterizing the current/projected energy cost, solar PV installation costs and net savings with available connections to grid (e.g buy-all / sell-all, net metering, net billing) utilizing market PV pricing and $75,000 Duke Energy nonprofit rebates for 100 kW solar PV systems were included to determine first-year energy savings, nominal low cost of energy, net present value (25-year life) and discounted payback period.

 

Municipal Utility Solar Feasibility Analysis

The Fayetteville Public Works Commission serves 87,000 customers as the state’s largest municipal utility.  They enlisted the help of the NCCETC to conduct a technical and economic analysis of the viability of subscriber-based community solar program for their customers.

The outcome resulted in the proposal of a 1MW community solar array, plus a 560kW battery storage system, which was passed by the Fayetteville City Council to help the utility support their renewable energy portfolio requirements, access dispatchable storage to reduce peak demand, and most importantly, to enable all customers to participate in the generation of solar energy. The solar array will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 1,300 metric tons of CO2e. The estimated $2.5 million dollar development and construction investment has largely benefited Cumberland County, and the region as a whole.

  • Support REPs compliance with renewable energy generation owned by community
  • Provide a feasible means of investing in renewable energy through individual customer choice, but with community-wide benefit
  • Reduce monthly coincident peak demand with dispatchable battery storage
  • Enable ALL Customers to affordably “own” solar without investing in their own rooftop solar installations

The project, which is currently generating electricity, will be the first municipal utility in the state to offer a program of this scale. The utility is presently offering panels to both residential, commercial & industrial customers. The project was awarded funding from the North Carolina Division of Environmental Quality, to benefit qualified low-income residents.

 

Peak Demand Reduction Strategies and Renewable Energy Solutions

The Town of Benson secured a zero percent financing loan, with the NCCETC’s assistance, from North Carolina Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Benson, North Carolina has aging infrastructure and the highest energy use of any of the town’s facilities. Through the CWSRF, the Town of Benson’s WWTP will be upgraded with a 500kW solar PV and battery storage system that will reduce peak demand charges and supply a measure of resilience when power is lost.  When extreme weather or other disasters bring down the electric grid, the WWTP will become a microgrid and island its operations to continue providing essential water and treatment services to Town residents and businesses. As of late 2019, the NCCETC’s policy and engineering team has provided:

  • Initial project feasibility analysis
  • Support writing the initial application for the Town to submit to the State’s CWSRF
  • Engineering services necessary to secure final approval from the State’s CWSRF to begin early 2020

Example Projects for Business and Industry

Energy Efficiency Assessments & Reviews

TSG Finishing, LLC, in Hickory, requested a third-party engineering review from the NCCETC in order to apply for funding through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The facility was in need of a lighting retrofit project for their plant in order to upgrade and improve lighting throughout the facility. Dedicated to the enhancement of woven and non-woven fabrics through specialty applications since 1901, the manufacturer qualified as a rural small business according to the eligibility requirements of the USDA REAP. They were awarded grant funding under REAP, as well as incentives from Duke Energy, resulting in a 1.6 year payback on the project.

Carbon Neutral Strategy

In 2019, the NCCETC worked with an international company to help develop a strategy to help the manufacturer reach their ambitious 2025 carbon neutrality goal. The NCCETC provided research, energy policy guidance and technical analysis culminating in a final report to help inform the executive level decision-making process for a company-wide and site-specific strategy, for achieving carbon neutrality. This included defining key terminology and scope parameters, as well as understanding the ‘green claims’ that could be made by the company as a result. Additionally, the NCCETC identified opportunities in energy efficiency, self-generation, purchase power agreements, carbon offset purchases and renewable energy credits (RECs) procurement. The team also provided a competitive analysis of similarly sized companies and their sustainability or renewable energy claims and strategies surrounding carbon neutrality.

Alternative Fuel Life Cycle Analysis

NCCETC’s Clean Transportation team has conducted alternative fuel life cycle cost analyses for multiple transit agencies across North Carolina where the team compared the total cost of ownership for vehicles over their expected lifetimes for vehicles using different fuel types. NCCETC can also:

  • analyze upfront capital costs with long-term operating costs (including fuel and maintenance costs)
  • compare the overall costs between electric buses, natural gas buses and diesel buses
  • estimate emissions reductions for each technology
  • evaluate existing bus routes and schedule to make recommendations regarding which routes were the best choice for electrification based on range

 

Municipal Utility Solar Energy Program Development

Peak Demand Reduction Strategies and Solutions

The Center worked with the city of Fayetteville’s wastewater treatment facilities to identify opportunities to shift peak and incorporate solutions that could support peak demand reduction initiatives including the adoption of renewable energy. The team, which also represents the U.S. Department of Energy Southeast Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership, provided technical assistance to help the municipal utility consider the inclusion of a combined heat and power system fueled by biogas.

Testimonials

“We appreciated the opportunity to work with the [NCCETC] team on this project and will be relying upon the report David and the team produced to continue our work to provide leadership in terms of solar PV installation and use in towns and cities in North Carolina.”

“Anne Tazewell and the staff at NC Clean Energy Technology Center are knowledgeable about their work, and easy to work with. The study they completed is our primary resource in the decision-making process for installing solar PV on our roof tops.”

“Since 2016, PWC has partnered with NCCETC for analytical services, non-residential auditing, and substantive research, to include the production modeling for our 1 MW community solar/560 kW battery storage project, the development of rate calculators for the PWC residential TOU rate, and contribution to the PWC Energy Storage, Electric Vehicle/EV Charging Study. NCCETC has a pulse on energy-related legislative policy and is on top of the latest advancements and trends in energy technology. PWC has found that collaboration with NCCETC has provided considerable support and validation when evaluating energy solutions and the impact on customer efficiency and demand management.”

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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!

 

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