Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in North Carolina
North Carolina has a wide range of attractive incentives in place to help domestic and corporate properties switch to renewable technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal. In 2014, just under 7% of the state’s electricity came from green sources, including hydroelectric and biomass, while it has set a fairly low renewable portfolio standard of 12.5% by the end of 2021.
Compared to many other states, North Carolina has been pushing forward the green agenda, particularly in respect of solar, though it has been a hard fought battle. There are currently 188 solar companies operating, employing some 6,000 people, and the state has the third largest installed capacity in the USA at 1,134 MW. There are several large installations in North Carolina, one of the biggest being the 20 MW Capital Partners Solar Project. Companies such as Apple have also embraced solar technology with panels installed on their buildings.
By far the largest contributor to clean energy in the state is provided by hydroelectric power and North Carolina has a number of plants such as Cowans Ford which has an operating capacity of 350 MW. The renewable energy market in the state is also expanding to include biomass with a number of power plants including Craven Power which produces 48 MW from wood waste and two plants that covert municipal waste.
With so much of its eastern side exposed to the Atlantic, North Carolina is well placed to take advantage of wind power though this area of green energy production is still being developed. Plans for off shore wind farms have been identified for Kitty Hawk and Wilmington and the first onshore project, capable of producing up to 300 MW, in Pasquotank should come online this year.
Solar PV Incentives in North Carolina
There are a number of incentives in place to help the state’s residents take advantage of solar PV and this has led to a growing industry that employs a healthy amount of people. Not only is there the Federal Tax Rebate of 30% but a state Renewable Energy Tax Credit for both corporate and personal benefit that can reduce costs by a further 30% and which is available for a wide range of green technologies including solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric. The state has net metering in place and there is also the Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems to help reduce installation costs.
Solar PV Case Study in North Carolina
All in all there is plenty going for solar PV installation in North Carolina. You can only cash purchase at the moment and there are no plans for people to be able to lease panels though with all the incentives on offer this isn’t a problem. The cost of a 5 kW array is around $20,000 and you can get an immediate discount from Duke Energy who will provide a rebate of over a thousand dollars. Combine this with the Federal and state tax rebate and other incentives and you could pay back your initial investment in just 8 years and get a profit over the 25-year life span of over $21,000. Installing solar is also expected to add substantially to the sale value of your home.
Solar Thermal Incentives in North Carolina
Solar thermal has many of the same advantages and incentives that come with solar PV in the state and is becoming a popular way of providing hot water. It can be installed at a lower cost than solar panels and is easy to maintain whilst reducing water heating payments. As well as the corporate and personal tax rebates, commercial premises can take advantage of a Business Energy Investment Tax Credit.
Small Hydro Incentives in North Carolina
Hydroelectricity has great potential in North Carolina and small scale projects are supported by both the Federal and state tax rebates. There are also low cost loans available through schemes such as the Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency aimed at both commercial and residential projects.
Geothermal Incentives in North Carolina
As in many other states, geothermal energy production such as that from ground source heat pumps is becoming increasingly popular. Much depends on the integrity of the property where this technology is being installed as space is needed for the piping to be laid and homes and offices require high levels of insulation. In addition to the Federal and state rebates, many utility companies offer their own incentives such as the Jones-Onslow EMC Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program.
Biomass Incentives in North Carolina
Biomass is beginning to develop in the state as it is across the USA, and there are good incentives for small businesses to install technology such as wood chip burners and embrace options including anaerobic digestion. For agricultural concerns there is access to low cost loans for development on farm land including Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants.
Wind Power Incentives in North Carolina
Wind power is included as an eligible technology for many of the rebates and incentives provided both federally and state wide. The cost of installing a wind turbine can be prohibitive but the return on investment is actually pretty good if the local wind speeds are good enough.
The prospects look healthy when it comes to renewable energy in the state of North Carolina, particularly in relation to some of its poorer performing neighbors. Expect to see solar continue to thrive and more investment going into wind and biomass energy production in the future.
You can find out more about incentives for renewable technology in North Carolina on the DSIRE web resource.