Despite slide in 2018 solar additions, NC still ranks among the best in the nation

In North Carolina, Duke Energy Corp.’s new competitive bidding process for solar construction and initiatives for rooftop solar rebates and community …
By John Downey

Senior Staff Writer, Charlotte Business Journal
Mar 13, 2019, 9:27am EDT

North Carolina remained a top solar state finishing third in the nation for new projects added to the grid in 2018, according to the latest Solar Market Insight report.

The 906 megawatts worth of solar additions last year was easily good enough to keep Duke in second place for total solar on the grid. The state has 5,260 megawatts worth of solar farms connected to the grid overall, according to the report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association and McKenzie Power & Renewables (formerly GTM Research).

North Carolina’s annual total was down about 3% from the record 1,200 megawatts the report calculated the state added in 2017. That was in line a nationwide decline of 2% in new solar installations. The U.S. saw about 10,600 megawatts of new solar added to its grid in 2018, the report says.

“The solar industry experienced growing pains in 2018, in large part due to the unnecessary tariffs that were imposed on solar cells and modules, but this report still finds significant reason for optimism,” says SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “The total amount of solar installed in America is on track to more than double in the next five years, proving solar’s resiliency and its economic strength.”

In North Carolina, Duke Energy Corp.’s new competitive bidding process for solar construction and initiatives for rooftop solar rebates and community solar projects are expected to support continued growth for solar in the next several years.

The rebates, for instance, may well push the state forward finally on smaller solar projects for residences and businesses, a category in which North Carolina is traditionally very weak. In 2018, almost 880 megawatts of the new solar in the state was utility-scale solar.

California led the nation in 2018 in new solar construction, as it has for years. It added 3,395 megawatts worth of ne solar farms and installations in the year. Texas, which has long been a leader in wind power, ranked second for the year with 995 megawatts of new solar. Florida, the only Southeast state other than North Carolina in the top ten for 2018, came in fourth at 850.5 megawatts.

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