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D-1 North Carolina has become one of the most attractive states in the nation for investing in renewable energy generation, including solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal systems. As an exam- ple, in 2013 North Carolina installed 335 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it 3rd nationally.1 State incentives available to non-government and government entities are described below. Incentives Available to Non-Government Entities Complementing a 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy investments, North Carolina offers a 35% tax rebate to taxpayers who construct, purchase, or lease an eligible renewable energy system. The annual state tax credit is available for residential applications up to $10,500, depending on the technology, and up to $2.5 million for commercial and industrial facilities for solar, wind, hydro, and biomass projects. The state tax credit has made a critical difference to the economics of renewable energy devel- opment and has attracted growing interest among third-party investors and energy management companies. On solar installations, for example, the allowable investment tax credits for solar energy range from a maximum of $1,400 for solar hot water heating systems, to $3,500 for active and passive space heating systems, and $10,500 for PV solar electric systems. Since most airports are owned by government entities and do not pay taxes, they are not eligible for federal/state tax credits. However, these incentives can be used by a third-party contractor to develop a renew- able energy project at an airport and thereby share the benefit of such arrangement through a long-term PPA. Incentives Available to Government Entities For organizations not eligible for the federal/state tax incentives but still looking to develop a renewable energy project, there are incentives offered in North Carolina through independent nonprofit organizations, utilities and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).2 â¢ The NC GreenPower Production Incentive offers payments per kWh to producers of elec- tricity from solar, wind, biomass, and small hydropower (<10 MW). NC GreenPower is an independent nonprofit that issues RFPs from time to time based on consumer demand for renewable electricity in the state. Owners of small PV (<5kW) and wind (<10kW) can State Renewable Energy ProgramsâExample of North Carolina A P P E N D I X D 1 Solar Energy Industry Association. 2 Energy.Gov Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Updated April 2013.
D-2 Renewable Energy as an Airport Revenue Source apply anytime. Reimbursement rates vary by technology and time depending on the bid- ding process. â¢ Duke Energyâs Standard Purchase Offer for RECs reimburses owners of renewable energy generation systems located in Dukeâs service territory for the value of RECs generated. Prices are $20 per RECs from solar (i.e., SRECs) with a minimum production of 35 MWh/yr, and $5 per REC from other renewable energy systems for a minimum of 50 MWh. Contracts can range between 5 and 15 years. â¢ To encourage the development of small scale wind, biomass, solar and hydro, the TVA through its Green Providers Program will purchase the electric output from systems rated at 50 kW or less for twenty years. Reimbursement rates are $0.09 per kWh for solar above the retail rate and $0.03 per kWh above the retail rate for other renewable systems. As part of the program, the TVA retains all rights to the RECs. â¢ For larger projects, the TVA will purchase electric output for projects greater than 50 kW and up to 20 MW from developers of biomass combustion, biomass gasification, methane recov- ery, wind, and solar systems. Reimbursement averages 5.5 cents per kWh. There are additional conditions the developer must meet including but not limited to the TVA retaining the rights to the RECs as well as maximum production limits and conditions associated with financing and interconnection agreements. Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Another factor propelling renewable energy development in the state is its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. Under the 2007 standard, all electric power suppliers in North Carolina must supply a growing percentage of their retail customersâ future energy demand by a combination of renewable energy resources and reduced energy consumption. The standard began at 3% of retail electricity sales in 2012, and rises to 10% of retail sales beginning in 2018 for the stateâs electric membership cooperatives and municipally owned electric providers and 12.5% of retail sales beginning in 2021 for the stateâs electric public utilities. North Carolina is embracing the economic opportunities provided by the renewable energy industry, including the permanent well-paying jobs it creates. In 2013, North Carolina claimed to be the fifth largest solar market in the United States, supporting over 15,000 direct jobs and more than 1,100 companies in the clean energy sector. The organizational hub of state efforts to promote renewable energy is the 25-year old North Carolina Solar Center (NCSC), located at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The Center, which is financed partly through state appropriations, has evolved beyond its historic focus on solar energy to encompass many types of renewable energy and clean technology. The Center provides a range of support services such as training workshops and classes, technical assistance, public education, and fee-based project assessments. In the area of technical assistance, NCSC issued a 28-page guide for solar developers in Decem- ber 2013 that contains specific information on current state regulations and permit require- ments. The report, âTemplate Solar Energy Development Ordinance for North Carolina,â covers common considerations in siting a solar facility, including setback requirements, height limita- tions, visibility and buffering requirements, and decommissioning plans. The report also includes a specific section on aviation notification requirements, which vary depending on the proximity of the proposed site to an airport, and the potential for an ocular impact (glare or glint) on pilots or air traffic controllers. North Carolina has a longstanding reputation for research and development of emerging new industries and technologies. Fostering the renewable energy industry is part of the stateâs general economic development strategy, and it is paying off in the rapid growth of solar energy and other renewable energy systems throughout the state.
State Renewable Energy ProgramsâExample of North Carolina D-3 Renewable Energy at Airports Several airports in North Carolina operate solar systems or lease airport land that is not needed for aviation purposes to third-party solar developers. Figure D-1 shows the location of solar projects operating at airports and those known to be under development. The largest solar enterprise in the state is Duke Energy Renewables, a part of Duke Energyâs Office of Commercial Business. The company owns or operates about 1,700 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, most of it generated by wind power, based on a reported $3 billion in related investments throughout the United States since 2007. Two of Duke Energyâs PV solar projects in North Carolina include airport facilities at Shelby Municipal Airport (EHO), owned by the city of Shelby, and Warren Field Airport (OCW), owned by the city of Washington. The Shelby project began operating in 2010 and is a 1 MW system consisting of 4,522 ground-mounted panels on a 10-acre site. The Warren Field project began in 2013 and is a 5 MW system comprising 23,000 PV modules. In the case of Warren Field, the airport earns a lease payment of $1,200 per acre per year. With 35.9 acres under lease, the lease payment provides the airport with $43,080 in revenue annually. Charlotte-Douglas (CLT), the largest airport in North Carolina with over 18 million annual enplanements, built a 235 kW PV solar system mounted on the roof of the CLT Center, the main administration building for airport operations and employees. The system was fully funded and installed by a third-party company, which received the tax and investment benefits. The airport has a 20-year lease on the system, with an option to buy the system in designated years 6, 10, 15, or 20 at its depreciated value. The developer is also receiving revenue from the sale of the systemâs RECs to Duke Energy for purposes of meeting the utilityâs state energy portfolio requirements for renewable energy. In 2014, CLT had planned to build an enormous 53 MW system, spanning 128 acres of ground between runways, building roofs, and parking lots, but it was deferred due to potential issues with the airport master plan and potential conflicts with CLT tax-exempt bonds for airport parking lot projects. Figure D-1. Solar projects at airports in North Carolina.