In the past couple of years solar power has taken off in North Carolina, catapulting the state into the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA’s) and others’ top 10 states for solar power. Now SEIA is recognizing two Republican legislators from the state, Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. George Holding, leading the charge to solar at the federal level with its SEIA Solar Champion Award.
“Under the leadership of Senator Burr and Representative Holding, North Carolina now ranks in the top 10 for both solar deployment and solar jobs, proving the payoff to expanding solar development is indisputable,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “These legislators have demonstrated that they recognize solar is an economic engine, not a partisan technology. We thank them for their support and proudly present them with these well-deserved awards.”
SEIA awarded them with the recognition because of their work in Senate and House to promote greater use of solar energy, which included supporting the extension of the federal solar investment tax credit in 2015, which has led to an explosion in solar growth in the past year and will help stabilize the industry in the coming years.
With more than 3 gigawatts of solar power installed, North Carolina is now second for installed solar capacity, beat only by California, which has installed more than 16 gigawatts of solar power. It even has more solar power installed than sunbelt states like Arizona and Nevada. As such, it’s become an important jobs driver in the state.
"The solar industry employs over 7,000 people in North Carolina—a testament to how many folks are using solar energy in our state,” Congressman George Holding said. “I'm honored to receive this award, and excited to see what the industry develops in the years to come to meet our growing energy demands.”
North Carolina’s solar industry also is growing its solar industry in unique ways. Some of its large-scale developments have been driven by businesses, like Apple and Google, which sought massive solar farms and renewable energy for their data centers. Others have been created because of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). As solar prices continue to fall, PURPA could be a big tool to help solar projects compete against fossil fuel projects for new power generation.
These are the latest such awards granted by SEIA. Last October it bestowed Solar Champion Awards to Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Reps. Tom Reid (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA). It also awarded then Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) with the first ever Lifetime Solar Pugilist Award.Tweet