A CFEDC Statement Regarding the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law in North Carolina

Clean Energy: Another Tool in the Toolkit for Economic Development

In under a decade the clean energy industry in North Carolina has grown from individual entrepreneurs to small businesses to multi-state enterprises. This homegrown industry wants to keep its roots in our state and export their goods and services to other Southeast states who have enacted policies to replicate NC’s successes.

North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law enacted in 2007, is allowing market competition and choice. Because of the monopoly granted to utilities, policies like the REPS law are the closest thing we have to a free market. Maintaining these policies, which help attract investment and spur innovation while providing jobs and long-term economic opportunities in our state, is of utmost importance. Since 2008, nearly $3 billion has been invested in renewable energy projects across our state, including about two-thirds built in North Carolina’s rural communities, which also results in significant property taxrevenues for local governments. (Source: RTI/Scott Madden, 2015)

Clean energy policies, such as the REPS, are promoting an environment for job creation and industry success that benefits all North Carolinians and unfortunately, a few policy makers are encouraging a rollback of this law, while most are celebrating its success.

NC’s Clean Energy Investments Are Working. (Literally.)

  • Clean energy development supported 44,549 annual full-time equivalents (FTEs), equivalent to one person working full time for a year, from 2007 to 2014.
  • Approximately $3,472.8 million was invested in clean energy development in North Carolina between 2007 and 2014, which was supported, in part, by the state government at an estimated cost of $195.6 million. Leadership in sustainable economic development and job creation | capefearedc.org
  • Clean energy investments were nearly 18 times larger than the state incentives for them.
  • Renewable energy project investment in 2014 was $651.9 million, or nearly 38 times the $17.3 million investment observed in 2007. (Source: RTI/Scott Madden, 2015).

Every Corner of the State is Benefiting, Especially Rural Areas

  • Catawba, Davidson, Duplin, Person, Robeson, and Wayne Counties experienced the greatest amount of investment—more than $100 million each.
  • Beaufort, Cabarrus, Columbus, Cleveland, Wake, Nash, Chatham, Harnett, Montgomery, Lenoir, and Davie Counties each experienced between $50 million and $100 million in investment between 2007 and 2014. (Source: RTI/Scott Madden, 2015).

Clean Energy Policies Mean Jobs, Reliable Electricity and Cost Savings – Now and in the Future

  • The net present value of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard savings compared to a conventional portfolio equals $651 million. The analysis finds the greatest annual savings occur in 2029, when the portfolio provides $287 million in savings.
  • Since the start of the REPS in 2007 through the year 2029, rates are forecasted to be lower than they would have been had the state continued to only use existing, conventional generation sources. (Source: RTI/Scott Madden, 2015).

The CFEDC supports policies that improve economic development and job growth in the Cape Fear region and North Carolina, and the results are clear that the REPS is doing exactly that and should be maintained.

BCC Solar Class Produces Qualified Solar Installers


WILMINGTON, NC, August 17, 2012 – Brunswick Community College (BCC), in partnership with Cape Fear Solar Systems, LLC, local leader in solar system design and installation, successfully completed the second semester of Solar Installer classes, closing with a fantastic record of 62.5 percent of students passing the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV Entry Level examination.

Since the course was introduced in August 2011, approximately thirty students have registered. Brunswick Community College has so far trained and educated 26 solar professionals, 19 of which have been through the ultimate and rigorous NABCEP testing. The class that finished this month, which was also the first group at BCC to obtain the National Center for Construction Research and Education (NCCER) credentials, had 12 students, 8 of whom signed up to sit for the NABCEP PV Entry Level Exam. 5 students have successfully passed the test resulting in a passing level of 62.5 percent. Students are still waiting for their NABCEP Solar Heating Entry Level Exam results.

Given the difficulty of this exam, the above average passing rate demonstrates the high quality of the program and dedication on the part of BCC to provide superior training. “We are very excited to contribute to our community with a high quality course producing professionals that are in demand. Renewable energy is expanding and we are glad to give our students a solid base to succeed in this increasingly competitive industry,” Marilyn Graham, Green Information and Training Center (GITC) Coordinator at Brunswick Community College, expresses her enthusiasm for the college’s achievement.

“I am pleased to see young professionals taking solar power seriously and obtaining education and training to become qualified within this growing field. The NABCEP Entry Level Exam should be the starting point for every installer having long term professional objectives in the solar industry with the aim of providing quality workmanship,” states the course Instructor and President of Cape Fear Solar Systems, LLC, John Donoghue.

Students in the Solar Installer course not only undergo intensive in-class lecturing with frequent testing, but train their newly acquired skills on a mock up roof at the college’s campus, where they install, re-install and troubleshoot various solar systems. Their entire experience is topped with field trips, where students visit local solar arrays installed by Cape Fear Solar Systems and get exposed to real world installation challenges.

Due to the increased adoption of renewable energy in Southeastern North Carolina, and the subsequent demand for skilled labor, BCC monitored the increased interest in learning skills related to solar installations. After extensive preparation by the GITC, the BCC’s curriculum for the Solar Installer course was approved by NABCEP in August 2011. The college itself became the first NABCEP Entry Level Exam training provider for Solar PV and Solar Heating in Southeastern North Carolina.

Under the leadership of John Donoghue, President of Cape Fear Solar Systems, and triple NABCEP Certified solar expert, students of Brunswick Community College that successfully complete the Solar Installer coursework are eligible to sit for the NABCEP Entry Level Exam. On top of that, BCC is accredited by the NCCER as an educational provider under the Sponsorship of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of the Carolinas.

Being part of the continuing education program, the Solar Installer course provides students with basic knowledge of construction, electricity, and plumbing, as well as job site safety. After obtaining the fundamentals, students follow two modules, Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal. The solar modules teach students how to install safe and code compliant solar electric and solar thermal systems.

Passing the NABCEP Entry Level Exam testifies to a practitioner’s basic knowledge, comprehension and application of key elements and concepts of solar system operations. The vast majority of serious, professional solar companies require as a minimum for employment a successful passing of the NABCEP Entry Level Exam. For consumers purchasing solar, the NABCEP mark is a clear signal that the solar installer has been tested and found to meet the standards required to perform quality work. The next Solar Installer class starts September 1, 2012. For more info please visit http://www.brunswickcc.edu/continuing-education-registration.