Legislators teamed up with conservation organization Environment North Carolina to support solar power policies in the state as legislators come back from the summer recess in the state. The group touted North Carolina’s position nationally as the fourth largest state for solar power in the U.S., showing it’s ability to create jobs and clean energy for The Tar Heel State.
“I’ve seen solar and other renewable energy projects have a positive economic impact not only across the state, but also in my district,” said State Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg). “In the last year, dozens of renewable energy projects have been proposed in the greater Charlotte Region, plus many of the companies are based in our area. We’ve seen a significant return on investment from policies like the renewable energy investment tax credit, so it makes sense to maintain these policies,” he said.
Environment North Carolina and legislators referred to the findings of the recent Lighting the Way III: The Top States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2014, which it and parent organization, Environment America, produced with the Frontier Group. That report determined that strong pro-solar policies have helped states dramatically increase their use of solar over their peers.
The report comes as North Carolina’s legislature will take up debate on whether or not to extend the state’s renewable energy investment tax credit and changes to the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard (REPS).
“North Carolina’s pro-solar policies, like the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard and the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit have allowed us to become a national leader in the clean energy economy,” said Rachel Morales, Clean Energy organizer with Environment North Carolina. “Rather than undoing policies that are clearly working, we should be looking for additional ways to build on our solar success.”
"North Carolina’s policies have allowed us to become a national leader in the energy sources of the 21st century. Last year, we had nearly 23,000 full-time equivalent employees in the clean energy sector and the rate of growth in this sector significantly outpaces the overall economy,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford). The solar industry in the state has hired on 5,600 people since 2014, too. “But there is room to do more to catch states like Arizona and New Jersey, which is why we need to maintain our existing policies and start discussing, ‘what’s next?’”
Jeter has an answer: “I remain determined that we will include an extension of this credit in our final budget,” he said. “As we see here today, clean energy is an issue that brings together Republicans, Democrats and Independents.”Tweet