The US state of North Carolina has passed the 1GW milestone for installed solar capacity, according to figures from the NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA).

North Carolina is the fourth US state to reach the 1GW mark behind California, Arizona and New Jersey.

North Carolina’s solar industry, which leads the south-east US states with 1.04GW of PV, generates revenue of US$1.6 billion and accounts for more than 4,000 full-time jobs and 450 firms performing solar related activities in the state, according to NCSEA,

The growth of the sector in the last decade was put down to the state’s Renewable Energy Investment Credit (REITC), and its Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Standard (REPS), which mandates utility companies to buy a certain amount of their energy from renewable energy generators. North Carolina’s REPS currently stands at 6%.

However, the NC General Assembly recently decided to include a sunset of the REITC provision in next year’s budget

Allison Eckley, NCSEA communications manager, said: “This policy shift is not the first time our clean energy economy has faced challenges. However, we know this is a resilient industry. North Carolina clean energy firms have overcome multiple policy threats in an uncertain business climate to achieve tremendous growth in jobs and revenues since 2008.

“Firms indicate factors such as the quality of research and development collaboration, and the impact of our REPS, which remains intact and on track to reach its goals by 2021, are key contributors to this growth. We see a bright future for North Carolina’s 1GW solar market, and the host of other clean energy and energy efficiency resources driving our energy economy forward.”

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