North Carolina, ranked fourth among US states for installed PV capacity, is set to get another 33MW of utility-scale PV through locally-headquartered developer FLS Energy.
The company announced the projects last week, saying that financing has been closed and that construction has already begun. The 33MW will be spread across seven sites and according to FLS Energy, which has offices in North Carolina as well as in West Virginia, the projects constitute the latest additions to a 2015 construction schedule of around 250MW in the state. Funding for the latest projects came from Cleveland, Ohio-based KeyBank.
In the most recent US Solar Market Insight, a quarterly report produced by the US Solar Energy Industries’ Association (SEIA) in conjunction with GTM Research, North Carolina became the fourth state in the country to reach 1GW of PV capacity. The state installed 58MW in the first quarter of this year to reach 1,011MW and the regional solar industry employs around 5,600 people. While ranked first among the southern states, it did however, slide from second position overall in the US, which it reached in 2014 when it deployed 397MW.
However, SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch recently said North Carolina’s solar industry will be “in jeopardy” when the federal ITC support mechanism expires. The ITC provides an incentive of 30% in tax rebates to solar projects and is scheduled to drop to 10% at the end of 2016. In an opinion piece which was printed in local paper Roanoke Chowanne News Herald on 18 July, Resch urged policymakers to extend the ITC’s lifetime by five years.
There have also been controversial moves at State Senate level to freeze the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (REPs) at 6%, instead of raising it to 10% by 2018 and to 12.5% by 2021.