Friday - February 15, 2019
Solar Energy Gains Momentum In NC
Written by Staff Reports   
Monday, 06 April 2015 06:20

RALEIGH -- The sun is shining on North Carolina when it comes to solar energy installations.  According to a new report by the Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center Raleigh ranks in 13th place out of 65 cities listed. Charlotte comes in at 36.

Kathy Miller, CEO of Yes! Solar Solutions of Cary, says it's important to note that much of the state's solar installations come from business-sponsored solar and North Carolina residents have a long way to go.

"Those reports for Raleigh, while they were great, are largely driven by the large solar facilities," she points out. "I still think there's a huge opportunity for rooftop solar."

Raleigh also was recognized for simplifying the permitting and zoning process to encourage solar installations. 

Time is running out for North Carolinians to take advantage of a 35 percent state tax credit when they install solar, which expires at the end of this year. 

There's also a 30 percent federal tax credit that expires in 2016. 

Blake Alford is president of the electronics technology firm CEI in Raleigh, which processes and reproduces documentation. His company worked with NC Solar Now to install 615 solar panels, which offset CEI's energy consumption by almost 80 percent.

Alford says he expects to make the money he spent back in less than five years, and also is seeing a benefit in the form of positive community feedback.

"When you walk into our front lobby, we actually have a monitor showing the power that's being generated at that particular time and you can watch it fluctuate throughout the day if it's cloudy or rainy or very, very sunny," he relates. "So that generates some questions."

While both tax credits are in effect, citizens get back 65 percent of the cost of their solar panels in the form of a tax credit. 

Miller says consumers wishing to take advantage of the programs should do research in their local community for Solarize programs, which enable consumers to purchase solar panels at reduced rates through bulk pricing.

"There's lots of opportunity this year," Miller points out. "There's a big rush now for people who own homes and businesses to get in before that tax credit expires."

The State Assembly has the option of extending the solar tax credit beyond this year. Alford and others are hoping lawmakers opt to do that.

(Information from Stephanie Carson, NC News Service)
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