Recovering With Solar

How North Carolina communities can boost the economy by investing in solar power

Combine the planet’s original energy source—the sun—with a simple, age-old technology, and you get reduced energy costs and less global warming pollution.  That’s the calculation Mecklenburg County and dozens of local governments are making, according to a new report by Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center.


Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center

North Carolina is perfectly poised to grow solar.  With four hours of peak sun per day, the Tar Heel state has twice as much sun as Germany, the world’s solar leader.  The state’s top-notch universities and technological centers are home to some of the world’s best solar innovators.  The world’s largest installation of solar heating and cooling technology is already complete in Western North Carolina.  And according to the NC Utility Commission’s own study, solar energy creates three times as many jobs as coal-power per megawatt.

The recently-passed American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) allocated $134 million to North Carolina state and local governments specifically for energy efficiency and renewable energy, giving North Carolina cities, towns, and counties and other public entities an opportunity to invest in solar energy—while creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and starting the path towards a clean and prosperous energy future for the state.

This report details ARRA funding allocations; processes and application deadlines for receiving funds; and solar investment options for a range of public and private entities.  The report highlights how some communities are already taking the lead in proposing solar projects.  Finally, this report gives recommendations for other policies to encourage solar power and resources for further information.