NC Approves Green Tariff Solar Deal
Following a city council vote late last month, Charlotte, North Carolina, joined the solar business through a green tariff deal that involves the construction of a 35-megawatt solar farm, slated to produce enough energy to power 10,000 homes per year.
The endeavor makes Charlotte the most populous city in the nation to acquire such large-scale solar through green tariffs and expects the deal will also help to meet the city’s climate goals.
About the Deal
In order to get the plan off its feet, the city of Charlotte partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute and World Resources Institute in move it hopes other cities will follow.
"As these cities start to execute these deals, I think there'll be a wave coming in after them in a lot of cities," Senior Associate at RMI, Ali Rotatori said.
"A lot are realizing that it's now 2020 and they made these goals for 2025 and 2030, and they really need to get starting on them. I see a lot of people waiting or getting their ducks in a row and watching what other cities are doing and learning from that."
Approved unanimously by city council, the project follows utility Duke Energy's Green Source Advantage program, which is reported to help large customers in the state support utility-scale renewable energy projects in addition to lowering carbon emissions and reaching other sustainable energy goals. The city of Charlotte is reported to be the first municipality to take part in the program.
“It’s really very positive for the program that more cities are talking about lowering their carbon footprint, and this is a reflection of a program that cities can take advantage of,” said Duke spokesperson Randy Wheeless.
More specifically, once involved, The Charlotte Observer explains that customers enter into trilateral agreements among the customer, the solar developer and Duke. From this point, Duke then buys the energy generated from the solar farm projects and credits the customer’s account.
“Not only does this 35-megawatt solar energy project get us 25% of the way towards our (carbon) goal in a very short time, but it contributes to building the green economy and improves our citizens’ quality of life,” Heather Bolick, the city’s energy and sustainability coordinator, said in a statement.
Bolick also added that the city won’t have to pay any upfront costs for the project and that those expenses will be borne by the developers.
For construction of the roughly $35 million solar farm, Duke Energy will be working with Carolina Solar Energy (Durham, North Carolina) and Ecoplexus (San Francisco). The project is expected to be completed by 2022.
Over the course of the established deal, a WRI spokesperson claims the endeavor will create nearly 500 jobs, improve air quality and save the city roughly $2 million over the course of two years in electricity costs.
Additionally, the project is expected to jumpstart the city of Charlotte in becoming a low-carbon city by 2050 and continues towards the achievement of zero net carbon emissions from municipal buildings and its fleet by 2030.
Other Green Deals
Back in April 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced what’s being billed as the city’s “Green New Deal,” a $14 billion plan that is aiming to reduce the city’s greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2030.
“The total reduction secured through actions of the de Blasio administration will reach 28%. When added to reductions made under the prior administration, New York City will reach a total emissions reduction of 40% by 2030 and putting ourselves on track for full carbon neutrality by 2050,” according to the city’s press release.
The following month, Nebraska updated the state’s energy codes for residential and commercial buildings for the first significant time in a decade, taking cues from both Boston and Ontario, which updated their regulations to get new construction as close to net zero as possible.
A few months layer in October, the United Nations Economic Council on Europe and Pittsburgh’s Green Building Alliance signed an agreement, marking the official launch of the city’s International Center of Excellence on High-Performance Buildings.
According to the UNECE press release, the center of excellence agreement was designed to create a global network of sustainability experts that would disseminate and deploy the UNECE’s Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings.
The agreement makes Pittsburgh the second city in the world to participate in the program, following New York’s Building Energy Exchange.
And last month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed off on “L.A.’s Green New Deal: Leading by Example” kicking off the city’s “Decade of Action.” The directive outlines a plan to cut out the city’s emissions in several areas including buildings, transportation, electricity and trash.