Renewable energy has boomed in North Carolina, making the state a national leader in a rapidly evolving industry. Solar energy generates $1.1 billion in revenue for the state’s economy while employing more than 2,400 full-time equivalent workers.
North Carolina recently exceeded 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar energy output. In comparison, the Hoover Dam produces 2 GW of hydroelectric power.NC has exceeded 1 GW of solar energy output. Comparatively, the Hoover Dam produces 2 GW of hydroelectric power. Click To Tweet
Where does the 1 GW come from? Utility-scale solar farms produce 846.18 mW of energy, corporate solar energy contributes 143.3 mW, and residential solar adds 12.18 mW. Together, these three solar energy sources have helped North Carolina become the fourth state to surpass 1 GW of energy.
Top NC Cities for Utility-Scale Solar Facilities
These utility-scale solar farms are funded by solar corporations that lease land from farmers. Farmers will lease a portion of their land to solar companies for these arrays giving them valuable, predictable income that allows them to continue farming the rest of their land.
Top Cities for Corporate Solar Output
It makes sense for Raleigh and Charlotte to be atop the corporate solar chart. North Carolina’s two largest cities combine for almost 15 mW of corporate solar output. Companies are beginning to utilize this powerful, efficient form of renewable energy.
Top Cities for Residential Solar Output
Raleigh tops the list with 1.09 mW of residential solar output. This number may seem low, but remember, it is solely comprised of homes equipped with solar panels. The fact that cities have any measurable output of residential grade solar shows the maturation of the technology. Homeowners harnessing solar energy rely less on natural gasses resulting in lower electric bills.
Asheville’s 0.81 mW of output is impressive considering it is one-fifth the size of Raleigh and one-ninth the size of Charlotte. There are several small cities on the top 10 list, a sign that solar awareness is growing.
Top 10 Utility-Scale Facilities
Apple spent $850 million on its solar facility in Maiden. What does this 20 mW get them? The energy equivalent of powering its California stores, offices, headquarters, and data center. That’s a lot of power! Additionally, Apple has another 20 mW facility in Conover.
SunEnergy1 has many ongoing solar projects in North Carolina. The company has installed more than 1.5 GW of solar capacity since it was founded. These companies are helping sustain communities and draw industry to the state.
North Carolina’s solar sector is producing energy at an impressive rate. As it continues to grow, other sectors will, too. The state is attracting industry and expanding its means of harnessing clean energy.
Data, facts, and figures provided by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association.