Siting of Utility-Scale Solar in North Carolina

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In 2007, North Carolina (NC) passed a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS), the first in the Southeast. The REPS mandated that 12.5% of the state’s electricity demand be met with renewable energy by 2021. 29 states, Washington D.C., and 3 territories also have renewable portfolio standards, with varying goals. The NC REPS, combined with the state’s interpretation of the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), unleashed a torrent of activity in the state, making it second in the nation (after California) for installed solar PV. Our project, using publicly available data and a geographical information system (GIS), creates a screening tool to: (1) identify potential sites for utility-scale solar in the State of North Carolina, given a set of physical constraints; and (2) generate supply curves for those selected sites, given a set of economic constraints. This tool can be used by local zoning boards or commissions, or other interested parties, to gain a better understanding of utility-scale solar projects and make project development processes smoother, facilitating better environmental outcomes, and supporting sustainable economic growth in North Carolina and the U.S.



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Kikuma, Isshu, Elizabeth Rublev and Xuebei Tan (2018). Siting of Utility-Scale Solar in North Carolina. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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