Overview

The NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) offers government, business and industry a suite of services to support energy savings, renewable energy efficiency and fleet optimization.

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 information and technical expertise to help government, business and industry clients to consider energy solutions based upon their specific needs and objectives through a fee-for-service model.

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 for Local Government

Virginia Solar Procurement Guide for Local Communities

The 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 utilmatelyresulted 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 non profit 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.

 

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

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