Published on November 19th, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan1
New Report Forecasts Solar Boom in NC — "Growing Solar in North Carolina"
November 19th, 2009 by Zachary Shahan
A new report by Environment North Carolina’s Research and Policy Center, “Growing Solar in North Carolina,” found that North Carolina (home of my UNC Tar Heels) could be a solar power giant soon.
The new report found that North Carolina has a lot of solar energy potential due to its “vast” solar energy intensity (which is nearly as much as Florida’s) combined with other economic, policy and technological factors.
Steve Kalland, NC Solar Center executive director, said: “North Carolina is just waking up to its potential as a leader in the Southeast in solar energy development.” The state climbed close to the top of the country last year due to its solar installations increasing six times over.
If all of the currently announced solar power projects are completed as well, “solar capacity will grow another six-fold by the end of 2010,” Environment North Carolina (ENC) found.
ENC predicted that solar power would only account for 2% of the state’s electricity needs by 2020, but it would rise to 14% by 2030.
Limitations ENC identified were lack of space where solar technology could be installed and the speed at which solar projects could be installed.
To hit 14% of its electricity needs by 2030, ENC predicts that 700,000 solar panels will need to be installed and in use by that time (100,000 in the Research Triangle region alone).
As many others have predicted as well, more solar power is expected to increase number of jobs. In this research study, ENC found that 9 times more jobs are created in NC from installing 1 MW of solar power than the same amount of fossil fuel (coal or gas) power.
Richard Harkrader, CEO of Carolina Solar Energy, said that in North Carolina solar power can “beat the price of electricity from new nuclear plants” now.
Will North Carolina meet the expectations of ENC’s solar study? Or will it exceed this prediction, perhaps? We will see.
Image Credit 1: pollyalida via flickr under a Creative Commons license
Image Credit 2: Greenery via flickr under a Creative Commons license