North Carolina has Become a Top Solar Energy State Over Past Decade, Report Shows

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

North Carolina has seen the third-greatest increase in the nation in solar energy production since 2007, according to a recent report by a local environmental watchdog group.

The Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center noted advancements in the use of energy storage and electric vehicles in the state, which it also ranked 13th for energy efficiency.

North Carolina has increased solar energy production from one gigawatt hour in 2007 to 4,016 in 2016, per the report.

A gigawatt hour equals 1 million kilowatt hours. The average American utility customer consumed 10,812 kilowatt hours in 2015, the latest figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

At that usage rate, North Carolina could have solar-powered just 92 homes for a year in 2007, compared to 371,439 in 2016.

The report assessed all states on growth of technologies needed to produce clean, renewable energy. It cited proposed legislation expressing a need for North Carolina to fully transition to renewable energy by 2050.

“The progress we’ve made in the last decade on renewable energy and technologies like battery storage and electric cars should give North Carolinians the confidence that we can take clean energy to the next level,” Julia Schusterman, of Environment North Carolina, said in a statement. “But, in order to ensure a healthy future, we need to continue to lead by transitioning North Carolina quickly to a future powered by renewable energy.”

There are 37 cities and nearly 100 major companies that have committed to fully transition to renewable energy, Environment North Carolina said. Among them is the Town of Boone.