New report: North Carolina among national leaders in solar power growth and energy efficiency progress

Media Contacts
Krista Early

Decade-long analysis details dramatic clean energy growth in North Carolina and nation

Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center

Raleigh – North Carolina ranks 3rd in the nation for growth in solar power generation since 2011  and is tied in tenth position for growth in improvements in electricity efficiency since 2011, according to a new report released today by Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. Renewables on the Rise 2021: The rapid growth of renewables, electric vehicles and other building blocks of a clean energy future documents the growth of six key clean energy technologies across the U.S. over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and heat pumps. North Carolina has seen a more than  265-fold increase in the amount of electricity it gets from the sun since 2011 and we’ve seen a notable increase in electricity savings from energy efficiency programs. Our report ranks North Carolina 10th in the nation in energy efficiency progress from 2011 to 2019.This analysis comes as North Carolina just passed a bipartisan energy bill that sets goals to reduce heat-trapping carbon pollution.

“It’s amazing the difference that a decade can make and how many people are choosing to embrace renewable energies like solar power,”said Krista Early, Advocate with Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. “North Carolinians can look forward to a cleaner, healthier future, thanks to our state’s leadership in solar power and energy efficiency.” 

“People of faith are recognizing that It is our moral imperative to move to a clean, renewable, efficient future,” said Susannah Tuttle, Director of NC Interfaith Power and Light. “It’s 2021, we need to be harnessing the powers of the energies from the heavens above.”

Beyond top-ranking growth in solar energy, North Carolina has also seen an 546 GWh increase in wind power. Strong and supportive policies, combined with improving technologies and falling prices, have played a key role in driving adoption, according to the report. 

“We cannot continue to bear the health and consumer costs of relying on fossil fuels. We have the technology and innovation we need to power a cleaner, healthier future with renewable energy, like solar and wind power,” said Kaite Craig, Director of North Carolina PIRG. “By implementing common sense renewable energy solutions today, we can preserve a livable planet, clean air and clean water for generations to come.” 

In addition to highlighting states that have made the most progress in adopting renewable energy technologies, the research also details the rapid gains achieved nationally over the past decade. According to the report, America produced almost four times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind in 2020 as in 2011. Additionally, if wind, solar and geothermal generation continue growing at the same 15% annual rate, renewables could meet the nation’s electricity needs by 2035. 

“We all have a role to play, but you can’t get a global reduction in emissions if you don’t do that at the local level and at the state level,” said Senator Natalie Murdock. “I look forward to continue working with Governor Cooper over the next two years so that we can move forward to create a more robust and diverse energy portfolio here in North Carolina.”

“Millions of Americans and North Carolinians are already reaping the benefits of the dramatic clean energy progress we’ve made so far,” Early said. “But, we’ll need to do even more in order to transform the vision of 100% clean and renewable energy for North Carolina into a reality.”

You can watch our webinar here.