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Solar Energy Forums Shine Light On Permitting Process

One of Progress Energy's solar energy farms.
Duke Energy
Progress Energy

North Carolina’s solar energy industry has garnered much success in recent years – from solar panels to solar farms. 

In 2012, the state was ranked the 5th Top Solar State in the nation by the Solar Energy Industries Association.  And the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association reports there are more than 15,000 full-time equivalent employees working in the state's clean energy industry at 1,100 companies.

But still many local governments, land owners and the general public are not educated on the solar energy permitting process.

Tommy Cleveland is a Solar Engineer at the North Carolina Solar Center.  He says they hope a special series of forums will address the problem.

“What’s happening right now in North Carolina is a very wide range of requirements from county to county and municipality to municipality.  And many times because there are no solar specific rules in the county it is difficult to know what the permitting process will be," said Cleveland.

Cleveland says a solar template ordinance would make the process more consistent and transparent.

The first forum on Solar Development is Friday at the Natural Sciences Museum in Raleigh.  Others are set for Greensboro, Lumberton, Asheville and Charlotte.

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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