North Carolina has made its mark on the clean energy industry by solidifying itself as the state with the third highest solar capacity, constructing a massive wind farm in Elizabeth City, and is home to some of the brightest, most innovative technological companies in the business.
In fact, Fortune 500 companies and startups alike are building and opening facilities in North Carolina because of its clean energy initiatives and achievements. These companies understand that the future of the world’s energy consumption is clean and energy trends in recent years reflect that.
Our state has a host of companies that are pioneering the solar energy industry. With all the success North Carolina has had in solar, it’s no wonder that there are companies right here in our backyard that are on the leading edge of the industry.
Strata Solar is working toward a brighter energy future. The company, located in Chapel Hill, NC, ranks among the top ten solar providers in America. It currently has 840 MW of solar projects installed with more than a gigawatt under development.
Its broad service capability includes solar project development, engineering, procurement, construction, operations, maintenance and financing solutions for any size project, including the world’s most recognizable solar array in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head at Walt Disney World.
Strata’s mission is to make a difference by developing cost-efficient alternatives to traditional energy sources, without long-term dependence on government subsidies. It is also putting North Carolinians to work and having a positive impact on the local economy.
The company prides itself on creating local jobs for local projects. It works hand-in-hand with employment and economic development offices where major projects are being built, and hire and train employees so they have the skills for a career in solar development.
“Our strategy is to build our utility-scale solar projects in regional ‘clusters’ so that our teams move from one job to the next creating sustainable long-term job growth.
This was the outcome in 2013:
- 400 staff in Southeastern cluster (Robeson, Bladen, Columbus)
- 300 staff in Western cluster (Catawba, Cleveland, Davie)
- 300 staff in Northern cluster (Warren, Rockingham, Person)
- 200 staff in Eastern cluster (Nash, Wilson)
In total- 1200 jobs.”
Many of the jobs Strata Solar has created are in rural and economically depressed counties that other sectors of the economy have left behind. These jobs are helping communities that need it most become better off financially. As solar energy continues to see advances, the job market will, too.
Yes Solar Solutions
Yes Solar Solutions is a Cary, NC-based company that designs, sells, and installs photovoltaic solar panel systems for just about everyone, including homes, businesses, non-profits, municipalities, government/military agencies, and more throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.
The company has been successful enough in North Carolina’s solar market that it is opening an additional office in South Carolina to better serve our southern neighbor’s growing solar needs.
Stew Miller, Co-founder and President of Yes Solar Solutions, and his team are strong supporters of creating local jobs and advocates for third-party financing.
“We look at our industry as one that generates jobs and really keeps money in the state of North Carolina,” Miller said. “Third-party sales has the potential to really help us in this marketplace. It will help us to install solar on homes and businesses that can’t afford to pay upfront for a solar energy system, and I think more importantly than anything, it’s going to allow us to bring solar to non-profits, churches, the military, organizations that can’t really benefit from even the federal tax credits.”
The company has a promising future given its expansion into South Carolina and growing customer base right here in North Carolina.
In order to keep North Carolina at the forefront of the solar energy innovation, consumers need more options. They’ve already been limited with the expiration of the Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit earlier this year. Before its expiration, consumers received a 35% tax credit for purchasing renewable technologies.
That leaves us with third-party sales and financing. Though is could provide numerous benefits to consumers, it is currently outlawed in the state of North Carolina. Regardless, the state’s solar industry is booming. Just think how efficient we would become if we had more options. A free energy market would do that. A free and competitive energy market would allow us more options, access to third-party financing, favorable electricity prices and industry innovation.