Backed by state policies and green funding, North Carolina's solar production has grown 36 percent in the past five years, making it the second-largest state in the United States behind California. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar will account for nearly 6% of the state's electricity generation by 2019. Historically, rural areas of North Carolina that are struggling to create jobs and businesses have seen record growth - and growth has been slow, while utility solar installations are rising in all states. 37 in South Carolina, which is second in total installed solar capacity and third in solar capacity per capita.
SEIA also predicts North Carolina's solar capacity will grow to more than 3,560 MW over the next five years. SEIA says this stunning solar capacity is capable of supplying power to nearly 1.5 million homes and businesses in the state. North Carolina has the third largest population density and second largest population density compared to other states where the solar market is smaller. With new regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels by 20 percent by 2020, HB 589 would far exceed the above-mentioned SEia forecast.
Over the past decade, the cost of installing solar panels across the country has fallen dramatically, and the cost of installing solar panels in North Carolina has fallen 64% since 2010, a close observation of prices that have fallen since the US solar cost fell 70% in 2010. The cost reductions we have seen in North Carolina are well below average, but if you are looking for information about your local solar company, read our guide to solar installations in North Korea, where you can see information about the company and real customer reviews. You can also view a list of the state's most popular solar installations, based on the number of installed installations and their cost per kilowatt-hour.
As solar costs have fallen, North Carolina's economy has benefited greatly from rising investment in solar energy projects. The private sector has paved the way for the growth of the solar market in North Carolina, from investors - from private utilities to private companies - that operate solar power and solar-related companies in the state, including SolarCity, the world's largest solar-related company, and other solar companies like SunEdison and SunPower.
The following list represents some of the leading North Carolina solar energy companies that have emerged from rankings and ratings like these on sites like solarpowerworldonline.com and solarreview. Com. Among the fastest-growing companies in the state's solar industry in 2016 were Eagle Solar Light, SunEdison and SunPower, to name a few, and a number of smaller companies. EagleSolar Light has been active in North Carolina since 2016 and has offices in Highlands and Chapel Hill.
The company owns and operates more than 35 solar power plants in North Carolina and has invested more than $1 billion in the state's renewable energy. In 2007, North Carolina had less than 1 MW of solar capacity, and in December 2014, there was 953 MW of installed capacity. In March 2016, Duke Energy and other companies that own or lease solar power plants like SunEdison and SunPower totaled 2,077 MW, or about half of SolarCity's 1,000 MW. The companies own about 1.5 million square feet of office space in Chapel Hill and Charlotte.
North Carolina is growing, and in 2015, 397 MW of solar power was installed, making North Carolina the second-largest solar power producer in the country in terms of new solar capacity. In 2014, 393 MW were installed, compared with 392 MW in 2007 and 10,707 MW in 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Chapel Hill - North Carolina-based Strata Solar now operates 15 solar farms, 11 of which were completed in 2012 and another 11 under construction.
Carol Jean Solar's Walnut Cove is the largest solar power plant in North Carolina, with 4 MW, and SAS has a 2.2 MW solar farm. While solar energy is also rising strongly in North Carolina, IKEA has 1.1 MW of capacity in Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Durham.
These photovoltaic projects have the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 9030 homes in North Carolina. According to the US Energy Information Administration, it has had an average annual production rate of 1.5 MW over the past two years.
The fleet of new solar farms does not put pressure on retail electricity prices in the state, which means we have set a new standard for determining the cost ratio avoided in North Carolina. Today, the average cost of installing a solar system for a 1.5 MW solar farm is significantly below the national median cost in North Carolina (see chart below). In mid-2017, the typical price per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity from a 2 MW plant was $3.23 per watt. But without the installation of these new photovoltaics, average prices for North Carolinians would be $16,150 for the same amount of electricity.