North Carolina reaches solar power milestone

State lawmakers mulling tax credits for renewables in next year's budget.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Sept. 25, 2015 at 7:38 AM
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WILMINGTON, N.C., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A North Carolina sustainable energy group announced solar power capacity in the state has passed 1 gigawatt of power and accounts for $1.6 billion in revenue.

"Solar has been a fantastic economic driver in North Carolina's clean energy industry for the past several years, and reaching 1 gigawatt is the latest impressive milestone for this growing market," Robin Aldina, manager of energy research at the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, said in an emailed statement.

The NCSEA credits a strong climate of support for renewable and energy efficiency with stimulating the low-carbon sector in the state. By its estimates, the solar power industry accounts for roughly 4,000 jobs in North Carolina.

The organization said it would continue pressing state lawmakers to support tax breaks for the industry as they debate next year's budget.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, meanwhile, said it scheduled a task force meeting Oct. 7 in Wilmington to discuss the future for wind energy development off the state's coast.

BOEM said last week a multi-year vetting process concluded there would be no significant environmental impacts associated with developing wind farms off the coast of North Carolina.

The U.S. Energy Department and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found total installed wind power capacity in the United States is near 66 gigawatts, an 8 percent increase since last year. All of that is onshore as there are no offshore wind farms in commercial operation in the United State

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