South takes note as North Carolina's solar industry booms

Karin Rives

As North Carolina goes with solar, so goes…the South?

Not quite yet, but the state’s recent decision to rebuff its powerful electric providers and give solar energy companies business stability has put North Carolina squarely on a map as the region’s clean energy leader.

North Carolina ranked third in the nation after California and Arizona for investments in solar energy in 2013. It shows the state’s commitment to a rapidly growing industry that some other states wouldn’t mind getting a piece of.

There were as many as 240 solar companies that drove nearly $780 million in solar investment for homes, businesses and utilities that year, and more growth was expected for 2014.

At least one state, South Carolina, is beginning to wake up to the opportunities this changing energy economy can bring. So is Georgia.

Even in Florida, the nation’s third largest state and with the country’s third-best solar potential – but a ranking of 18 for solar investments  there are some surprising rumblings these days. 

The state’s recent decision to terminate incentives for customers to purchase solar panels for their homes and businesses was a step backward, so much so that even conservative Floridians are now rallying for change.

The recent ruling by the North Carolina Utilities Commission keeps in place a cost calculator determining how utilities pay solar farms for electricity. It gives independent developers much-needed business stability and financial security.

The move also sends yet another signal to surrounding states that policies that promote renewable energy can be viewed as a smart economic move, politics aside. 

Learn more about the state’s recent decision on EDF’s Energy Exchange blog.

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