Last year, North Carolina solar energy capacity grew almost 900% from a measly 400 kW to 4 MW. That puts North Carolina into the 10 ten solar states for 2008 installations. What are the drivers behind this grand acceleration of solar capacity? Two things. The first is the 2007 RPS for 12.5% renewables by 2021 with 0.2% of that solar energy. The second is a 35% state tax credit for solar. North Carolina is headed in a sunny direction, if the state Senate Finance Committee doesn’t rain on our parade.
Now North Carolina, like many other states, is facing a budget deficit. Two Senate finance Chairs propose that elimination of state tax credits, including our renewable energy tax credit named above, will fix the budget woes. Oh No! Just when the solar industry starts to ramp up, installers are on roofs, sales teams learning the pitch; the tax credit may expire?
With our instate partners, the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, we have a bill that would extend the current tax credit for another seven years. The bill needs to be heard by the Senate Finance Committee who can or can not roll the bill into the final budget. Our 880 members in North Carolina sent 450 letters to committee members urging them to include the tax credits.
That’s not all that’s happening on the solar front in North Carolina. We have four key solar policies as amendments to a transportation bill. If passed the amendments would authorize a net metering fix, create permission to sign power purchase agreements, bring Berkeley-style municipal financing to cities and create an on-line REC tracking platform. Whew.
If you’re reading this in North Carolina, we could use your help. Contact Claudia at Claudia@votesolar.org