Solar power is energy from the sun which is then converted into usable energy, like electric. Energy created from solar arrays is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available. There are many uses for solar energy, including:
- Generating electricity
- Providing light
- Heating water for domestic, commercial, or industrial use
- Much more
With green energy technology growing and evolving rapidly every year, the idea that solar power is just for wealthy corporations and individuals is a thing of the past. Homeowners and business owners alike now have many resources available to help educate their decisions regarding solar power.
Solar Power Resources
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Solar Power Data and Tools
The NREL hosts a collection of tools and resources related to understanding a solar energy system, including data, tools, and maps for understanding solar power and solar patterns.
Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
This nationwide database includes information for North Carolina regarding renewable energies, incentives, programs, and steps to go solar within the state.
Solar Calculator (DSIRE and EnergySage)
The Database of State Incentives (DSIRE) and EnergySage has provided a Solar Calculator estimating the cost savings and feasibility of solar energy on a property. The calculator determines the savings with an address and an estimate of a monthly energy bill. Use this resource for finding out the financial costs and benefits of solar energy systems.
Resources about Solar Energy Systems
New River Light and Power Energy Credit Tariffs
Currently, Appalachian State University's New River Light and Power offer credits regarding uncontrolled solar generation. More information regarding these credits can be found on the NRLP Energy Credits Tariff (PDF).
Solar Energy System Installers
Blue Ridge Energy as a local energy provider has an online contractors list. View regional and local energy efficiency solar contractors here.
Community Solar Program - Blue Ridge Energy Customers
Community solar programs offer Blue Ridge Energy Customers, at the link provided here, the opportunity to subscribe to solar panel(s) as an energy bill credit. The Town of Boone is including this option here as a resource for customers who want to subscribe to solar panels who may not have access to installing panels.
Residential Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Financing Options and Incentives
The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association provides an online Homeowner's Guide to solar (available here). The guide also contains information on Cost and Financial Incentives (available here) for homeowners.
An additional resource at Collaborative Solar offers this information on their FAQ page (available here). The general financial incentives available are:
- Federal Credit of 30% of system cost
- Local subsidies will vary
- MACRS Depreciation in which to determine the dollar value use the following formula:
- Dollar Value = (85% of system cost) x (your tax rate) *This is eligible to business entities
Collaborative Solar (available here) provides other information for solar installation questions and concerns.
Consumer Protection and Solar PV
The North Carolina Department of Justice has a webpage of information for protecting consumers from fraud or scams. Use the information at the link, provided here, for concerns with your Solar PV project.