Report Illustrates NC's Unique Solar Energy Makeup

Jul 10, 2015

North Carolina produces more solar energy than any state except California, but a new report ranks Charlotte near the bottom of major cities for solar installations.


Online construction services company BuildZoom looked at the number of solar installations per capita in the 40 largest U.S. cities, ranking Charlotte 36th and Raleigh 23rd.

An array of solar panels on the rooftop of the CLT Center at Charlotte Douglas is one of the few city-owned solar projects.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

Even though North Carolina produces a lot of solar energy, NC Clean Energy Technology Center executive director Steve Kalland says that ranking makes sense.

“North Carolina looks that way largely because of the way we are structured from a policy standpoint,” says Kalland.

The state requires utilities to buy energy from solar companies, while restricting how those companies sell directly to customers. As a result, almost all of the state’s solar energy comes from large, industrial-scale farms, with only a tiny fraction on the rooftops of businesses and homes. But Kalland thinks that will change.

“What we’ve seen very recently, probably in the last six months to a year, is an influx of some of these national companies that are focused on the rooftop solar market,” says Kalland.

He expects Charlotte will move up on the list in coming years.