North Carolina/EZ Policies

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EZ Policies for North Carolina

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Download EZ Policies for North Carolina CSV (rows 1 - 61)

Policy Place Policy Type Active Implementing Sector Summary
Air Quality Rules (North Carolina) North Carolina Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This is a comprehensive air quality rule for North Carolina that includes ambient air quality standards, emission control standards, monitoring and reporting requirements, and permitting procedures. The rule provides emission limits for sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, etc., and contains guidelines for the control of the emissions from incinerators, emission standards for municipal solid waste landfills and guidelines for open burning and permit requirements.
Article 3J Tax Credits (North Carolina) North Carolina Corporate Tax Incentive Yes State/Province Article 3J Tax Credits can be used to offset up to 50% of a taxpayer’s state income and/or franchise tax liability. The credits are offered for businesses which create fulltime jobs, invest in capital infrastructure, or invest at least $10 million in real property and create at least 200 new jobs. Projects located within designated municipalities (Urban Progress Zones) or designated counties (Agrarian Growth Zones) may receive enhanced Article 3J credits.
Ashe County - Wind Energy System Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local In 2007 Ashe County adopted a wind ordinance to regulate the use of wind-energy systems in unincorporated areas of the county and to describe the conditions by which a permit for installing such a system may be obtained. This policy was adopted in the context of an ongoing debate over the legal interpretation of the 1983 Ridge Protection Act.

For the purposes of this ordinance, wind-energy systems are classified as “large” if they consist of one or more turbines with a rated generating capacity of more than 20 kilowatts (kW) and “small” if a project consists of a single turbine rated at less than 20 kW.* A site permit is required to establish, place, operate, maintain, expand or enlarge a wind energy system.

Height Requirements: The total height of a wind turbine is determined by the height above grade to the tip of the turbine blade as it reaches its highest elevation. Small wind turbines are restricted to a 135-foot height limit and large systems to a 199-foot height limit. This latter height is based on Federal Aviation Administration regulations requiring lighting to warn aircraft of air space hazards. Large wind energy systems are also prohibited from rising above the vegetative canopy of protected mountain ridges by more than 35 feet. Protected ridges are defined as those on mountains rising more than 500 feet above adjacent valley floors.

Visual Appearance: Towers and rotor blades must be painted or finished so as to conform to their surroundings and reduce visual obtrusiveness. Wind systems must also remain free from signage, advertising, flags, streamers, and other decorative items. Electric wiring for the turbines, “insofar as possible,” must be placed underground.

Setbacks: The ordinance generally requires that large wind systems must be set back at least 1,000 feet from neighboring property lines. Wind systems must also be set back from public and private roads a distance of at least 1.5 times the height of the tallest turbine on the property. Large wind-energy systems must comply with state and federal requirements for setbacks from streams, creeks, branches, rivers and other surface waters.

Noise Requirements: The aggregate noise or audible sound of a large wind system must not exceed five decibels above the existing average noise level of the surrounding area and is restricted to a maximum of 45 decibels measured outside the property lines that contain the wind system.

Building Permit Requirements: A building permit is required, and building permit applications for wind-energy systems must be accompanied by standard drawings of the turbine structure, including the tower, base and footings. An engineering analysis of the tower certified by a licensed professional engineer, including standards for ice/wind loading, must also be submitted. (This analysis may be supplied by the manufacturer.)

Impact Analysis, Mitigation, and Planning: Applications for large wind-energy projects must include the following: building and electrical permits; site and design information; construction, operation, maintenance and insurance information; decommissioning information; a comprehensive third-party impact analysis and all other relevant permits and approvals. All applicants must also undergo a public hearing so that the county planning board may receive comments and other information pertinent to the application.

* Multiple small wind energy systems located on farms are considered to be separate small wind-energy systems even if the aggregate rated capacity exceeds 20 kW, provided that the primary intent is to generate power to reduce on-site consumption.
Camden County - Wind Energy Systems Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local In September 2007, Camden County adopted a wind ordinance to regulate the use of wind-energy systems in the county and to describe the conditions by which a permit for installing such a system may be obtained.

For the purposes of this ordinance, wind-energy systems are classified as “large” if they consist of one or more turbines with a rated generating capacity of more than 20 kilowatts (kW) and “small” if a project consists of a single turbine rated at less than 20 kW. A site permit is required to establish, operate, and maintain any wind-energy system rated over 20 kW.

Height Requirements: The total height of a wind turbine is determined by the height above grade to the tip of the turbine blade as it reaches its highest point of rotation. The height limit for small wind turbines is 150 feet. Large systems may be taller if recommended as necessary by the Planning Board and subsequently approved by the Board of Commissioners.

Visual Appearance: Towers and rotor blades must maintain a galvanized finish or be painted so as to conform to their surroundings and reduce visual obtrusiveness. Wind-energy systems must also remain free from signage (except that of the manufacturer), advertising, flags, streamers, and other decorative items.

Setbacks: The ordinance requires that the base of the wind turbine must not be closer to surrounding property lines than its height unless a professional engineer (registered in North Carolina) certifies that the fall zone of the turbine will be within the proposed setback area. Small wind-energy systems must be set back from inhabited structures on adjacent property at least 1.5 times the height of the turbine unless the applicant can secure a permanent easement from the adjoining property owner(s) providing for a fall zone. Large wind-energy systems must be set back from inhabited structures on adjacent property at least two times the height of the turbine.

Building Permit Requirements: A building permit shall be required and building permit applications for small wind energy systems shall be accompanied by standard drawings of the wind turbine structure, including the tower, base, and footings. An engineering analysis of the tower, certified by a licensed professional engineer. This includes standards for ice/wind loading. This analysis may be supplied by the manufacturer. Wet stamps shall not be required.

Impact Analysis, Mitigation, and Planning: Applications for site permits for large wind-energy projects must include the following: building and electrical permits; site and design information; construction, operation, maintenance and insurance information; decommissioning and site restoration information; a comprehensive impact analysis and all other relevant permits and approvals. All applicants must also undergo a public hearing so that the county planning board may receive comments and other information pertinent to the application.
Carteret County - Wind Energy System Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes State/Territory Carteret County passed an ordinance to specify the permitting process and establish siting requirements for wind energy systems. There are different rules and a different permitting process depending on the size and location of a system. Small systems up to 25 kilowatts (kW) are considered to be an accessory use and do not require the approval of a Wind Energy Permit Application. Small systems attached to a house can have a maximum height of 60 feet and are not subject to minimum setbacks. Small systems not attached to a house can have a maximum height of 75 feet, but must be set back 1 foot for each foot of height from any property line and any vacant or occupied dwelling unit on the same property.

Larger systems over 25 kW must have a Wind Energy Permit Application approved by the Planning Commission before a building permit can be submitted. The ordinance goes into detail about the information required for the Wind Energy Permit Application. Systems over 25 kW and less than 1,000 kW can have a maximum height of 199 feet, and must be setback at least 1,300 feet from any adjacent property line. Systems 1,000 kW or more can have a height of 550 feet and must be setback 6 feet for each foot of height from any adjacent property line.

See ordinance for more details.
Climate Action Plan (North Carolina) North Carolina Climate Policies Yes State/Province The North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) has established a priority in the 2009 - 2013 Strategic Plan to respond to climate change using both mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce vulnerability, increase adaptive capacity and improve resiliency of climate-sensitive resources. DENR’s Climate Change Steering Committee provides oversight for implementation of DENR’s Climate Change Initiative. This team is developing a focused approach to address climate change policy actions at state, regional and federal levels, while coordinating strategies with other state, federal and nongovernmental partners.
Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (United States) United States Grant Program
Loan Program
Yes Federal Community Development Block Grant/Economic Development Infrastructure Financing (CDBG/EDIF) provides public infrastructure financing to help communities grow jobs, enable new business startups and expansions for existing businesses. State programs help achieve the national objective of CDBG by funding projects in which at least 51 percent of the new jobs created are made available to low and moderate income individuals. The maximum amounts awarded under the program are $1 million for new businesses locating to the state and $500,000 for existing businesses expanding in the state.
Currituck County - Wind Energy Systems Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local In January 2008, Currituck County adopted an ordinance to regulate the use of wind-energy systems. The ordinance directs any individual or organization wishing to install a wind-energy system to obtain a zoning permit from the county planning board. Small-scale systems require only administrative approval for the permit, while large systems and utility-scale projects require approval from the board of commissioners.

For the purposes of this ordinance, a wind-energy system is classified as "small" if it has a single turbine with a rated capacity of 25 kilowatts (kW) or less; as "large" if it consists of one or more turbines with a rated capacity of less than one megawatt (MW); and as "utility scale" if for installations of more than one turbine with a rated capacity of 1 MW or greater.

Height Requirements: The total height of a wind turbine is determined by the height above grade to the tip of the turbine blade as it reaches its highest elevation. Small wind systems are restricted to a 120-foot height limit, whereas large systems are restricted to a 250-foot height limit, and utility scale systems are restricted to a 500-foot limit.

Visual Appearance: Towers and rotor blades must maintain a galvanized finish in a non-obtrusive color such as white, off-white or gray. Wind systems must also remain free from advertising, including flags, streamers and other decorative items, as well as artificial lighting, except that which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Any on-site transmission or power lines must, to the extent possible, be placed underground.

Setbacks: The ordinance generally requires that non-utility-scale wind systems be set back from surrounding property lines by one linear foot for every foot of the turbine’s height. Utility-scale systems must be set back at least 1.5 times the turbine’s height. Small turbines must be placed on lots of at least 20,000 square feet, whereas large systems must be placed on lots of five acres or greater, and utility-scale systems must be placed on lots of at least 25 acres. All systems must maintain a set-back of at least 2.5 times their height from certain highways, and 1.5 times their height from public and private right-of-ways. There are also minimum setbacks for occupied buildings on the owner’s property and adjacent properties; however, these requirements may be waived if a written waiver is signed by all affected property owners.

Installation Requirements: The installation and design of all wind systems must comply with applicable industry standards and all electrical and mechanical components must conform to relevant local, state and national codes.

Impact Analysis, Mitigation and Planning: Applications for large wind-energy projects must include a site plan showing the location of each planned wind turbine relative to all proximate roads, property lines, buildings and geographical boundaries; decommissioning plans; signed and approved copies of any negotiated power purchase agreement; and, for utility scale projects, a detailed environmental impact study.
Dam Safety (North Carolina) North Carolina Safety and Operational Guidelines Yes State/Province North Carolina Administrative Code Title 15A, Subchapter 2K lays out further regulations for the design, approval, construction, maintenance, and inspection of dams to ensure public safety and environmental health. The rules and regulations in this chapter are intended to carry out the purposes of the Dam Safety Law of 1967, which authorizes the implementation of a dam inspection and certification program in the interest of public health, safety and welfare.
Duke Energy Progress - SunSense Residential PV Incentive Program (North Carolina) North Carolina Utility Rebate Program Yes Utility Duke Energy Progress is offering incentives for their residential customers to install photovoltaics (PV) systems on their homes through their SunSense Program. The incentive is multifaceted. Customers will receive an upfront payment of $500 for every kilowatt-AC (kW-AC) they install on their home, and they will receive monthly credits on their bill of $4.50 per kW-AC. For instance, if a customer installs a 10 kW-AC system, the largest system eligible to participate in the program, the customer will receive a check for $5,000 plus a bill credit of $45 on their monthly bills.



To participate in the program, the customer must surrender all their Renewable Energy Credits (RECs*) to Duke Energy Progress for a period of five years and they will receive the $4.50 per kW bill credits throughout those five years. After those first five years, there may be an opportunity for the customer to renew their REC contract with Progress Energy under the terms of the agreement that exists at that time.

Systems must be connected to the grid and be net metered to participate. As a condition of the net metering agreement, the residence must be billed on a time of use demand tariff, where their electricity rate is a factor of the time of day and year.

*Duke Energy 'Progress is purchasing RECs to comply with North Carolina's renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard. Since 'Duke Energy 'Progress is purchasing the RECs, customers cannot sell their RECs to NC GreenPower or any other REC purchaser for the duration of their contract with 'Duke Energy 'Progress.
Electric Light & Power Rules (North Carolina) North Carolina Generating Facility Rate-Making
Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals
Safety and Operational Guidelines
Yes Utility These rules shall apply to any person, firm, or corporation (except municipalities, or agents thereof) which is now or may hereafter become engaged as a public utility in the business of furnishing electric current for domestic, commercial or industrial consumers within the State of North Carolina. The rules are intended to define good practice which can normally be expected. They are intended to insure adequate service and to protect the public from unfair practices and the utilities from unreasonable demands.

Each utility shall, at such times and in such form as the Commission shall prescribe, report to the Commission and the Public Staff the results of all tests required to be made or the information contained in any records required to be kept by the utility. Each utility shall maintain its plant, distribution system and facilities at all times in proper condition for use in rendering safe and adequate service. Each utility shall, upon request of the Commission or the Public Staff, file with it a statement regarding the condition and adequacy of its plant, equipment, facilities and service in such form as may be required by the Commission.

Each public utility or person, prior to commencing construction of a new transmission line for which a certificate is required shall first obtain a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience and necessity from the Commission. Each year, beginning in 2008, each electric power supplier or its designated utility compliance aggregator shall file with the Commission the electric power supplier’s plan for complying with the state’s RPS.
Forestry Policies (North Carolina) North Carolina Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province North Carolina features almost 18 million acres of forested land within the state. The North Carolina Forest Service (http://ncforestservice.gov/) manages the State's forest lands, including those owned by private landowners.

The North Carolina State University Forestry Department has issued several publications regarding biomass fuels in the state, including impacts of the State's RPS on Forest landowners, woody biomass harvesting guidelines, economics of woody biomass harvest, and wildfire mitigation among other topics: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/forestry/programs/woody_biomass/pubs_and_research.php

The North Carolina Biomass Trader is a marketplace for biomass fuels, feedstock, and energy products. The organization is created by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources:

http://www.ncbiomasstrader.org/
Groundwater Classification and Standards (North Carolina) North Carolina Environmental Regulations
Siting and Permitting
Yes State/Province The rules established in this Subchapter 2L of North Carolina Administrative Code Title 15A are intended to maintain and preserve the quality of the groundwaters, prevent and abate pollution and contamination of the waters of the state, protect public health, and permit management of the groundwaters for their best usage by the citizens of North Carolina. It is the policy of the Commission that the best usage of the groundwaters of the state is as a source of drinking water. These groundwaters generally are a potable source of drinking water without the necessity of significant treatment. It is the intent of these Rules to protect the overall high quality of North Carolina's groundwaters to the level established by the standards and to enhance and restore the quality of degraded groundwaters where feasible and necessary to protect human health and the environment, or to ensure their suitability as a future source of drinking water.
Hazardous Waste Management (North Carolina) North Carolina Environmental Regulations
Safety and Operational Guidelines
Siting and Permitting
Yes State/Province These rules identify and list hazardous waste and set standards for the generators and operators of such waste as well as owners or operators of waste facilities. They also stats standards for surface impoundments and location standards for facilities. An applicant applying for a permit for a hazardous waste facility shall submit a disclosure statement to the Department as a part of the application for a permit. A commercial hazardous waste storage, treatment, or disposal facility other than a special purpose facility shall pay monthly, in addition to the fees applicable to all hazardous waste storage, treatment, or disposal facilities, a charge of forty-one dollars per hour of operation. The fee shall be paid for any time when hazardous waste is managed or during periods of maintenance, repair, testing, or calibration. Each facility shall submit an operational schedule to the Department on a quarterly basis.
Hyde County - Wind Energy Facility Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local Hyde County, located in eastern North Carolina, adopted a wind ordinance in 2008 to regulate the use of wind energy facilities throughout the county, including waters within the boundaries of Hyde County. The ordinance is substantially similar to the model wind ordinance drafted by the North Carolina Wind Working Group, and establishes parameters for the permitting process, minimum setbacks, noise and shadow flicker, installation and design, and decommissioning of retired systems.

For the purposes of this ordinance, wind energy facilities are classified as "small" if they consist of a single wind turbine with a rated generating capacity of 20 kilowatts (kW) or less, "medium" if one or more wind energy facilities have a total rated capacity of more than 20 kW but not greater than 100 kW, "large" if they have a total rated capacity of more than 100 kW.

Permitting Process: All new wind energy facilities, or expansions of existing facilities must receive a permit from the County Manager prior to construction. A permit application must include a narrative describing the facility; approximate generating capacity; the proposed number and height of all wind turbines to be built; location of the proposed site; a detailed site plan; certification of compliance with local, state and federal regulations; an environmental assessment for large wind facilities; decommissioning plans; financial assurance that the owner can pay for decommissioning; and documentation of an agreement between the system owner and adjacent landowners.

Setbacks: The setback is calculated by multiplying the required setback number by the wind turbine height and measured from the center of the wind turbine base to the property line, building or road. Setbacks are generally determined by the following table:


Wind Energy Facility Type Occupied Buildings on Participating Landowner Property Occupied Buildings on Non-Participating Landowner Property Property Lines on Non-Participating Landowner Property Public Roads
Small System 0.0 1.5 1.1 1.5
Medium System 1.1 2.0 1.5 1.5
Large Scale 1.1 2.5 1.5 1.5


Setbacks may be waived under certain conditions when all affected parties agree to different terms.

Noise and Shadow Flicker: Noise and shadow flicker issues for small and medium wind energy facilities are addressed by setbacks, or will be addressed by existing noise ordinances. Audible sound from a large or utility scale wind energy facility should not exceed fifty-five dBA, as measured at any occupied building of a non-participating landowner. Shadow flicker at any occupied building on an adjacent property caused by a large or utility scale wind energy facility located within 2,500 ft of the building shall not exceed thirty hours per year. These restrictions may be waived under certain conditions.

Installation and Design: The installation of wind energy facilities must conform to all applicable industrial standards, including those of the American National Standards Institute, and shall conform to floodplain and wind zone requirements. Towers and rotor blades must be of a non-obtrusive color such as white, off-white or gray. Wind energy facilities must also remain free from advertising, including flags, streamers and other decorative items, as well as artificial lighting, except that which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Any on-site transmission or power lines must, to the extent possible, be placed underground.

Fees: Permit applications are subject to a non-refundable fee to be established periodically by resolution of the Board of Commissioners.
Industrial Development Fund (North Carolina) North Carolina Grant Program
Loan Program
Yes Local The Industrial Development Fund provides financing grants and loans through designated municipalities and counties to assist in infrastructure improvements for targeted industrial projects. The local government reserves the funds and proposed projects are eligible for grants, but the local government must match the state funding 3:1. Project owners must demonstrate a commitment to generating jobs and present a business plan.

Selected requirements:

1) Pertaining to Basic IDF financing and the Utility Account financing there is no local match requirement if the project is located in a county that has one of the 25 most economically distressed ranking.

2) All grantees must comply with North Carolina Environmental Policy Rules in the North Carolina Administrative Code unless the activity is a non-major activity.
Interconnection Standards (North Carolina) North Carolina Interconnection Yes State/Territory The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) adopted comprehensive interconnection standards for distributed generation in June 2008. The NCUC standards, which are similar to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) interconnection standards for small generators, govern interconnection to the distribution systems of the state's three investor-owned utilities: Progress Energy, Duke Energy and Dominion North Carolina Power.* The standards apply to all state-jurisdictional interconnections (including interconnection of three-phase generators) regardless of the capacity of the generator, the voltage level of the interconnection, or whether the customer intends to offset electricity consumption or sell electricity.

The NCUC standards, like the FERC standards, use a three-tiered approach to simplify the interconnection process:

  • Systems up to 10 kilowatts (kW) must follow the 10-kW "inverter process" of simplified interconnection;
  • Systems larger than 10 kW and up to two megawatts (MW) must follow the "fast-track process;" and
  • Systems greater than 2 MW must follow the "study process."

Utilities may not require residential customers to carry liability insurance beyond the amount required by a standard homeowner’s policy ($100,000 minimum). Non-residential generators are required to carry comprehensive general liability insurance ($300,000 minimum). Customers that meet certain eligibility requirements are allowed to self-insure. Generators are responsible only for the costs of upgrades and improvements directly associated with a system's interconnection, but these costs may be determined by utilities.

As specified in a December 2008 order, utilities are authorized to require an external disconnect switch, but must reimburse owners of systems smaller than 10kW for the cost of the switch. Interconnection agreements are not transferrable; new owners must secure an agreement by filing an interconnection request and submitting a fee of $50. (However, the interconnection will not need to be re-studied.) The standards include a provision for mutual indemnification and a weak process for dispute resolution.

The NCUC established a fee structure for interconnection applications: $100 for generators up to 20 kW; $250 for generators larger than 20 kW but not larger than 100 kW; and $500 for generators larger than 100 kW but not larger than to 2 MW. The FERC fee structure applies to the interconnection of systems over 2 MW.

The NCUC has ruled that renewable-energy credits (RECs) generally remain the property of the system owner. However, for net-metered systems, any net excess generation (NEG) and the RECs associated with NEG are granted to the utility once annually.

Legislation enacted by North Carolina in August 2007 (S.B. 3) required the NCUC to establish interconnection standards for distributed generation systems up to 10 MW in capacity. The law stated that the commission “shall adopt, if appropriate, federal interconnection standards.” This law also established North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).

Click here for Duke Energy's web site for interconnection, or here for Progress Energy's web site for interconnection.

*The NCUC’s interconnection standards do not govern interconnection to municipal utilities or electric cooperatives.
Interstate Mining Compact Commission (multi-state) Alabama
Arkansas
Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maryland
Missouri
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Virginia
West Virginia
Safety and Operational Guidelines
Siting and Permitting
Yes State/Province The Interstate Mining Compact is a multi-state governmental agency / organization that represents the natural resource and related environmental protection interests of its member states. Currently, 23 states are members to the compact, and 6 additional states are associate members. The compact is administered by the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, which does not possess regulatory powers but “provides a forum for interstate action and communication on issues of concern to the member states” and thus aids the development of effective regulatory programs and environmental protection initiatives. The Commission exercises several powers on behalf of the states, all of which are of a study, recommendatory or consultative nature. The Commission does not possess regulatory powers, as some Compacts do. The Commission provides a forum for interstate action and communication on issues of concern to the member states. It is the potential to stimulate the development and production of each state's mineral wealth through effective regulatory programs that draws many of the states together in the prosecution of the Commission's work. Given the environmental sensitivities associated with this objective, a significant portion of the Commission's work is dedicated to the environmental protection issues naturally associated with this mineral development. It is the significant value and clout that comes from "compacting" together and speaking with a strong, united voice that can make a difference in each state's efforts to implement effective regulatory programs that will conserve natural resources and secure a vibrant state (and thus national) mineral economy.
Job Development Investment Grant (North Carolina) North Carolina Grant Program Yes State/Province The Job Development Investment Grant awards cash grants to new and expanding businesses that will provide economic benefit to that state. Grants are based on job creation and investment commitment and measured against a percentage of withholding taxes paid by new employees. The program requires that the proposed project meet the following five criteria: result in net increase in employment; increase opportunities for employment; consistency with the economic development goals of the state; competitive with another state; and grant must be necessary for project completion.
Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund (North Carolina) North Carolina Grant Program Yes Local The Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund provides annual grants to businesses which are located in Development Tier I counties. The Fund is intended to encourage the retention of significant numbers of high-paying, high-quality job and large-scale capital investments. Grants may be made for a term of up to ten years. The business must have at least 2000 employees and invest $200 million in capital improvements.
Lincoln County - LEED-Certified Building Incentive Program (North Carolina) North Carolina Green Building Incentive Yes Local Lincoln county is providing an incentive for the construction of certified green buildings in the commercial and industrial sector. Only newly constructed buildings are eligible, and they must have a minimum tax assessed value of $2,000,000. The county has chosen the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system as the standard for the program, but may accept projects on a case-by-case basis that are certified through a functionally equivalent certification standard adopted by a functionally similar certification body.


The program will exempt the project from the following fees:


  • Up to 95% of the building permit fees
  • Up to 95% of the sewer tap fees
  • Up to 95% of the water tap fees
  • Up to 95% of the sewer capacity development fees
  • Up to 95% of the water capacity development fees

The cap on incentives is the lesser of $200,000 or the following values which are based on the building's tax value and the level of LEED certification acheived by the building:


  • LEED Certified: 0.1% of the building's tax assessed value
  • LEED Silver: 0.2% of the building's tax assessed value
  • LEED Gold: 0.5% of the building's tax assessed value
  • LEED Platinum: 1.0% of the building's tax assessed value
See Exhibit A of the County Resolution, or contact Lincoln County Planning and Inspections for more information.
Local Option - Clean Energy Financing (North Carolina) North Carolina PACE Financing Yes State/Territory Note: The Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) issued a statement in July 2010 concerning the senior lien status associated with most PACE programs. In response to the FHFA statement, most local PACE programs have been suspended until further clarification is provided.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. North Carolina has authorized certain local governments to establish such programs, as described below. (As of December 2009, no community in North Carolina offers PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has considered establishing a PACE financing program.)

In August 2009, North Carolina enacted legislation (S.B. 97) that authorizes* counties and cities to make special assessments in order to finance the installation of "distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements that are permanently fixed to residential, commercial, industrial or other real property." Counties and cities that choose to adopt such programs may finance them by revenue bonds, general obligation bonds or general revenues.

For more detailed information, see the University of North Carolina School of Government's resources on the subject:


  • As of September 2011, no cities or counties in North Carolina have created a PACE program.
Local Option - Financing Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (North Carolina) North Carolina State Loan Program Yes State/Territory North Carolina enacted legislation (H.B. 1389) in August 2009 that authorizes cities and counties to establish revolving loan programs to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that are permanently affixed to residential, commercial or other real property. A revolving loan program generally refers to a loan fund, where the loan repayments and interest are fed back into the fund. In this way, the loan can, in theory, continue indefinitely. HB 1389 allows cities and counties to fund their loan programs through Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants from the federal government and the city's or county's unrestricted revenue. By law, the resulting loan programs may not charge more than 8% interest, and loan terms are limited to 20 years.

H.B. 1829 of 2010 expanded the authority of cities and counties to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Cities and counties are still free to provide revolving loan programs, but they can also establish loan loss reserve funds to assist in the financing of eligible projects, or other types of finance programs funded through federal and state grants or their own general revenue.

Contact your local government to find out if it offers financing for renewable energy and/or energy efficiency through this option.
Local Option - Green Building Incentives (North Carolina) North Carolina Green Building Incentive Yes State/Territory To encourage sustainable building practices, North Carolina law allows all counties and cities to provide reductions or partial rebates for building permit fees. To qualify for a fee reduction, buildings must meet guidelines established by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, the Green Globes program, or another recognized certification program.

SB 1597 of 2008 also granted authority to a few select jurisdictions to provide density bonuses, make adjustments to otherwise applicable development requirements, or provide other incentives to a developer or builder who builds or reconstructs developments which make a significant contribution to the reduction of energy consumption. The local jurisdiction is free to determine their own eligibility criteria based on generally recognized standards including LEED or other national or regional certification programs. Originally limited to just 1 county, 7 cities and 7 towns, this authority was granted to all counties, cities and towns by SB 52 of 2009.
Madison County - Wind Energy Systems Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local Madison County adopted a new land use ordinance in May 2010, which includes provisions for permitting wind turbines within the county.

For the purposes of this ordinance, wind-energy facilities are classified as "small" if they consist of one or more turbines with a rated generating capacity of 10 kilowatts (kW) or less, “medium” if a project has a rated capacity between 10 kW and 50 kW, and large if a project has a rated capacity of more than 50 kW. In general small wind energy facilities are treated as a conditional use in residential zones. As a conditional use, a small wind energy facility may be installed in the approved residential zoning districts if the Board of Adjustment finds that all requirements have been met. Small wind energy facilities are treated as a permitted use in most other zoning districts. Medium wind energy facilities are not permitted in most residential zoning districts, but are treated as a conditional use in most others. Large wind energy facilities are treated as a conditional use in the commercial and residential-agricultural zoning districts. A full break down of the permitting requirements for wind facilities in each zoning district can be found in the land use ordinance above.

The ordinance requires all wind energy facilities to be setback from property lines, public roads and occupied buildings on the wind turbine owner's property a distance equal to twice the height of the tower. They must also be setback a distance of 2.5 times the tower height from any occupied buildings on an adjacent parcel of land not owned by the wind turbine owner.

The ordinance also establishes restrictions to reduce noise and shadow flicker produced by large wind energy facilities. The ordinance does not establish similar restrictions for small and medium systems as these issues should be indirectly addressed by the setback requirements and existing noise ordinances. Requirements for the installation, design and decommissioning of systems are also addressed in the ordinance.
Model Wind Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes State/Territory Note: This model ordinance was designed to provide guidance to local governments that wish to develop their own siting rules for wind turbines. While it was developed as part of a cooperative effort involving several state agencies, the model itself has no legal or regulatory authority.

In July, 2008 the North Carolina Wind Working Group, a coalition of state government, non-profit and wind industry organizations, published a model wind ordinance to provide guidance for communities seeking to promote wind energy. For the purposes of this model, wind-energy systems are classified as "small" if they consist of a single wind turbine with a rated generating capacity of 20 kilowatts (kW) or less, "medium" if they have a total rated capacity of more than 20 kW but not greater than 100 kW and "large" if they have a total rated capacity of more than 100 kW.

Height Requirements: Wind turbine height is the distance measured from grade at the center of the tower to the highest point of the turbine rotor or tip of the turbine blade when it reaches its highest elevation. The setbacks (addressed below) are minimum requirements, designed to protect public safety and mitigate the impacts of noise and shadow flicker. By addressing these concerns through minimum setback requirements, the model wind ordinance omits lot size requirements and height restrictions.

Setbacks: The setback is calculated by multiplying the required setback number by the wind turbine height and measured from the center of the wind turbine base to the property line, building or road. Setbacks are generally determined by the following table:


Wind Energy Facility Type Occupied Buildings on Participating Landowner Property Occupied Buildings on Non-Participating Landowner Property Property Lines on Non-Participating Landowner Property Public Roads
Small System 0.0 1.5 1.1 1.5
Medium System 1.1 2.0 1.5 1.5
Large Scale 1.1 2.5 1.5 1.5

Setbacks may be waived under certain conditions when all affected parties agree to different terms.

Noise Requirements: Noise and shadow flicker issues for small and medium wind energy facilities are addressed by setbacks, or will be addressed by existing noise ordinances. Audible sound from a large wind energy facility should not exceed fifty-five dBA, as measured at any occupied building of a non-participating landowner. Restrictions may be waived under certain conditions.

Installation and Appearance: The installation and design of the wind energy facility should conform to applicable industry standards and meet all local, state and national codes. The wind energy facility should be a non-obtrusive color such as white, off-white or gray, should not be artificially lighted, except to the extent required by the Federal Aviation Administration and should not display advertising or decorative items.

The permit application should contain information about the size, type and location of the wind energy facility; a detailed site plan; proof of compliance with local, state and federal regulations; an environmental assessment; decommissioning plans and any agreements among participating parties.
NC GreenPower Production Incentive (North Carolina) North Carolina Performance-Based Incentive Yes Non-Profit Note: NC GreenPower issued an RFP in December 2013, seeking up to 20,000 MWh of renewable energy credits (RECs) through a purchase with either a one or two year term. Green power is defined for NC GreenPower as renewable energy generated in North Carolina by solar photovoltaics, wind, small hydro of 10 MW or less, and biomass resources (methane from landfills, animal waste or agricultural waste, wood waste) which is delivered to North Carolina’s electrical supply. Bids in response to the RFP are due January 22, 2014. See the web site above for more information.

NC GreenPower, a statewide green power program designed to encourage the use of renewable energy in North Carolina, offers production payments for grid-tied electricity generated by solar, wind, small hydro (10 megawatts or less) and biomass resources. Payment arrangements for electricity generated by most renewable energy systems may be available by submitting proposals for consideration when NC GreenPower issues an RFP. However, owners of small solar energy systems (5 kW or less) and small wind energy systems (10 kilowatts or less) may currently apply to receive program incentives at any time. Owners of small solar energy systems or wind-energy systems are encouraged to review and fill out an online application, available on the NC GreenPower web site. Note that customer-generators who choose to net meter are not eligible to participate in the NC GreenPower Program.

Generators are required to enter into power-purchase agreements with their North Carolina electric utility and with NC GreenPower. However, because premiums paid to NC GreenPower are funded exclusively by voluntary contributions from North Carolina electric customers, NC GreenPower does not provide guaranteed contracts to generators. Production incentives are based on the amount expected to make the installation of renewable-energy systems approach economic feasibility. The incentives, which include payments from utility power-purchase agreements, are made on a per-kWh basis and vary by technology. Owners of small solar-electric systems enrolled in NC GreenPower receive $0.06/kilowatt-hour (kWh) from the program, plus approximately $0.04/kWh from their utility under the power-purchase agreement, for a total production payment of about $0.12/kWh. Owners of small wind-energy systems receive $0.09/kWh from the program, plus approximately $0.04/kWh from their utility, for a total production payment of about $0.13/kWh.*

NC GreenPower is an independent, nonprofit organization created by state-government officials, electric utilities, nonprofit organizations, consumers, renewable-energy advocates and other stakeholders. It began operation in October 2003 as the first statewide green-power program in the United States. North Carolina's three investor-owned utilities -- Dominion North Carolina Power, Duke Energy and Progress Energy -- and many of the state's municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are participating in the NC GreenPower Program.


* Some North Carolina utilities charge an interconnection fee of approximately $4.00 per month for systems under 10 kW.
Natural Gas Rules (North Carolina) North Carolina Generating Facility Rate-Making
Safety and Operational Guidelines
Siting and Permitting
Yes State/Province These rules apply to any gas utility operating within the State of North Carolina under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Utilities Commission and also to interstate natural gas companies having pipeline facilities located in North Carolina insofar as safety is concerned. These rules are intended to promote safe and adequate service to the public, to provide standards for uniform and reasonable practices by utilities, and to establish a basis for determining the reasonableness of such demands as may be made by the public upon the utilities.
Net Metering (North Carolina) North Carolina Net Metering Yes State/Territory The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) requires the state’s three investor-owned utilities -- Duke Energy, Progress Energy and Dominion North Carolina Power -- to make net metering available to customers that own and operate systems that generate electricity using solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, ocean or wave energy, biomass resources, combined heat and power (CHP) which uses waste heat derived from eligible renewable resources, or hydrogen derived from eligible renewable resources.* The individual system capacity limit is one megawatt (MW). There is no aggregate capacity limit on net-metered systems.

Customers may net meter under any available rate schedule. However, customers that choose to take service under any tariff other than a time-of-use (TOU) demand tariff must surrender to the utility all renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the customer’s generation – with no compensation for the customer.

For residential systems up to 20 kilowatts (kW) and non-residential systems up to 100 kW in capacity, utilities may not charge any standby charges or any additional metering charges other than those charged to customers who do not net meter under the applicable rate schedule. For larger systems, utilities are allowed to impose standby charges consistent with approved standby rates applicable to other customer-owned generation.

In general, any customer net excess generation (NEG) during a billing period is carried forward to the following billing period at the utility’s full retail rate, and then surrendered to the utility – with no compensation for the customer – at the beginning of each summer billing season. However, the treatment of generation and NEG for customers on TOU-demand tariffs is more complicated. For these customers, on-peak generation is used to offset on-peak consumption, and off-peak generation is used to offset off-peak consumption. Any remaining on-peak generation is then used to offset off-peak consumption. Off-peak generation may only be used to offset off-peak consumption.

Utilities must file with the NCUC annual reports indicating the number of net-metering applicants and customer-generators, the aggregate capacity of net-metered generation, the size and types of renewable-energy systems, the amounts of on-peak and off-peak generation credited and ultimately granted to the utility, and the reasons for any rejections or removals of customer-generators from a net-metering arrangement.


* In July 2006, the NCUC extended net metering to eligible systems with battery storage. "Gaming” a net-metering arrangement by using battery storage to manipulate a TOU tariff is not allowed.
North American Renewables Registry (Multiple States) North Carolina
Kansas
Illinois
Missouri
Puerto Rico
Green Power Purchasing Yes Non-Profit The North American Renewables Registry (NAR) provides a Web-based platform trusted to create, track, and manage renewable energy certificate (REC) origination for clean generation facilities and states not covered by one of the existing APX-powered, regional systems. All market participants are able to take advantage of a trusted infrastructure to help manage their role in the market. With the ability to create unique, serialized records for every REC, the Registry provides product transparency, accountability and protection against double counting. The system has been designated as the compliance system for the Missouri Renewable Energy Standard (RES). The State of North Carolina has also designated NAR as an eligible registry for facilities located outside of North Carolina that seek to qualify for the North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. Recently, the Kansas Corporation Commission decided to use NAR to verify RECs purchased by Kansas utilities and cooperatives for compliance with the Kansas Renewable Portfolio Standard. With this addition, renewable energy facilities registered in NAR can now be tagged as eligible for Kansas, Illinois, Missouri and Puerto Rico if they have met the applicable requirements as a renewable facility. Furthermore, NAR is currently able to export certificates to North Carolina Renewable Energy Tracking System (NC RETS) and accept imports of certificates from Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS), Michigan Renewable Energy Certification System (MIRECS), Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) and NC RETS.
North Carolina Capital Access Program (North Carolina) North Carolina Loan Program Yes State/Province The North Carolina Capital Access Program provides matching reserve funds for business loans that are beyond the traditional lending means of a lender’s usual standards. The average CAP loan is $100,000 and is deposited into a reserve account held by the lender to offset losses in the case of a default.
Nuclear Power Plant Construction Support (North Carolina) North Carolina Generating Facility Rate-Making
Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals
Yes State/Province Language in the North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard allows a utility to have incurred costs reviewed by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) periodically and added to the rate base in a general rate case even if that facility is not yet complete. This language targets the construction of nuclear plants by establishing the NCUC’s ability to review and find prudent the activities associated with developing a nuclear plant, but not any specific costs of development.
One North Carolina Fund (North Carolina) North Carolina Grant Program Yes Local The One North Carolina Fund, directed by the Commerce Finance Center, helps recruit and expand jobs in high-value industries deemed vital to the state. State appropriations replenish the Fund and local governments must provide a match to the company, either in cash, services, or in-kind contributions. Companies seeking to expand or relocate to the state can receive grant funding for the purchase or installation of equipment, facility repairs, or construction or improvements to infrastructure such as transmission lines. The fund currently consists of nonrecurring appropriations made by the North Carolina General Assembly for companies seeking to undertake new expansion or locate new operations in the state. The fund is designed to increase the state’s competitiveness so the project location or expansion must be in competition with another location outside the state.
PJM Interconnection (Multiple States) Delaware
Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky
Maryland
Michigan
New Jersey
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Virginia
West Virginia
District of Columbia
Interconnection Yes Non-Profit PJM (originally Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland) Interconnection is a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The PJM region has an area of 214,000 square miles, a population of about 60 million and a peak demand of 163,848 megawatts.
Piedmont EMC - Residential Solar Loan Program (North Carolina) North Carolina Utility Loan Program Yes Utility Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation's (PEMC) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Loan Program is available to eligible consumers to finance the purchase and installation of photovoltaic (PV) and solar water heating systems. Approved consumers may borrow up to $10,000 for seven years at a five percent interest rate. Contact PEMC for further information about this program. In addition to solar equipment, residents may also use this program to finance the installation of certain energy efficiency improvements. Piedmont EMC also offers rebates for residential solar water heating systems.
Pitt County - Wind Energy Systems Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local The Pitt County Board of Commissioners adopted amendments to the county zoning ordinance in March 2010 which classify wind energy systems as an accessory use and establish siting and permitting requirements for their installation. The ordinance applies to small to medium systems designed primarily for on-site use in conjunction with a principal dwelling unit or business. The ordinance does not apply to utility scale systems.

Blade Clearance: Wind turbine blades may not be closer than 15 feet from the ground.

Visual Appearance: Wind turbines must be a non-obtrusive color such as white, off-white or gray. Wind systems must also remain free from advertising, flags, streamers and other decorative items, as well as artificial lighting, except that which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Setbacks: The base of the wind turbine tower must be setback from all surrounding property lines a distance of 110% of the height of the wind turbine at its highest point. Further, it must be set back from an inhabited structure on an adjacent property a distance equal to 150% of the height.

Permitting Requirements: An application for a zoning permit must include:

  • a narrative describing the proposed project;
  • the type and height of the proposed system, its generating capacity, dimensions, manufacturer and a description of the ancillary facilities;
  • a site plan which shows the proposed location, property lines, setbacks, substations, electrical lines, and the location of other ancillary devices;
  • standard drawings of the wind turbine structure including the tower, base, and footings;
  • an engineering analysis of the tower certified by a licensed professional engineer;
  • evidence of compliance with FAA regulations;
  • if the system is to be interconnected with the utility grid, evidence that the electric utility has been informed of the installation and approved it; and
  • other relevant studies, reports, certifications and approvals requested by the county.
Point Source Discharges to Surface Waters (North Carolina) North Carolina Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province
This rule requires permits for control of sources of water pollution by providing the requirements and procedures for application and issuance of state National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for a discharge from an outlet, point source, or disposal system discharging to the surface waters of the state, and for the construction, entering a contract for construction, and operation of treatment works with such a discharge. It also contains the requirements and procedures for issuance of state permits for pretreatment facilities.</br>


Any person who discharges or who proposes to discharge pollutants to the surface waters of the state or to a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) when pretreatment of the wastewater is required shall complete, sign, and submit, in triplicate, an application accompanied by the processing fee described herein for each application in the form of a check or money order made payable to N.C. Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources.</br>


For all discharges which do not qualify for a general NPDES permit and which have a total volume of 500,000 or more gallons on any day, a fact sheet providing a brief synopsis of the application shall be prepared by the staff and made available upon request following issuance of the public notice. Staff of the Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources are authorized to conduct any investigations for the purpose of determining compliance with water quality standards, effluent limitations, permit conditions and any duly adopted rule of the Commission. The rule also states some regulations for stormwater management in the state.</br>
Progress Energy Carolinas - SunSense Commercial PV Incentive Program (North Carolina) North Carolina Performance-Based Incentive No Utility This program is currently fully subscribed and is no longer accepting 2012 applications. The program is expected to open for 2013 application period in early December 2012.

Progress Energy Carolinas (PEC) offers incentives to non-residential customers in North Carolina and South Carolina for installing photovoltaic (PV) systems. PEC will pay $0.15/kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the electricity and renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the PV system for a period of at least 20 years. Participating systems may not net meter. Participants must sell all the electricity and RECs generated by the system, and purchase all the electricity their facilities consume. The RECs will help PEC meet the requirements of North Carolina's Renewables and Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS).

To be eligible for this incentive, PV systems must be installed in North Carolina or South Carolina on real property owned by a non-residential customer of PEC, and they must have a nameplate capacity from 11 kW (DC) to 500 kW (DC). Annual program participation is limited to 5 MW DC. Systems owned and operated by a third-party on a PEC customer's property are also eligible. To participate, PEC customers must first submit an application. PEC maintains sole discretion to accept, accept with conditions, or reject any application for any reason. If the application is approved, PEC will provide the applicant with a program contract. System owner must execute an interconnection agreement and PEC will set a separate meter to register the generation.
Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems (North Carolina) North Carolina Property Tax Incentive Yes State/Territory In August 2008, North Carolina enacted legislation that exempts 80% of the appraised value of a "solar energy electric system" (also known as a photovoltaic, or PV, system) from property tax. For the purposes of this assessment, the term "solar energy electric system" means "all equipment used directly and exclusively for the conversion of solar energy to electricity." This incentive is effective for taxable years beginning on or after July 1, 2008.


A Memorandum sent to County Commissioners in February 2011 clarified that residential PV systems that are not used to generate income or in connection with a business may be entirely exempt from property taxes as non-business personal property. The Memorandum provides further guidance for determining if a system can be exempted as non-business personal property. System owners should review the Memorandum and consult their local property assessment office if they have questions.
Qualifying RPS State Export Markets (North Carolina) North Carolina Renewables Portfolio Standards and Goals Yes State/Province This entry lists the states with Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies that accept generation located in North Carolina as eligible sources towards their RPS targets or goals. For specific information with regard to eligible technologies or other restrictions which may vary by state, see the RPS policy entries for the individual states, shown below in the Authority listings. Typically energy must be delivered to an in-state utility or Load Serving Entity, and often only a portion of compliance targets may be met by out-of-state generation. In addition to geographic and energy delivery requirements, ownership, registry, and other requirements may apply, such as resource eligibility, generator vintage and capacity limitations, as well as limits on Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) vintage. The listing applies to RPS Main Tiers only, and excludes solar or distributed generation that may require interconnection only within the RPS state. This assessment is based on energy delivery requirements and reasonable transmission availability. Acceptance of unbundled RECs varies. There may be additional sales opportunities in RPS states outside the Eastern Interconnection. REC prices in markets with voluntary goals (North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia) may be lower.
Regulations for Land Disturbing Activities (North Carolina) North Carolina Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province The law requires installation and maintenance of sufficient erosion control practices to retain sediment within the boundaries of the site. It also requires that surfaces be non-erosive and stable within 15 working days or 90 calendar days after completion of the activity, whichever period is shorter. In certain High Quality watersheds this stabilization must be achieved within 15 working days or 60 calendar days after completion of the activity, whichever is shortest. An erosion and sedimentation control plan must be submitted at least 30 days before land disturbance begins on any site 1 acre or larger. The erosion and sedimentation control plan must be approved by the regulatory agency before any land-disturbing activities are begun. The erosion control plan requires a thorough evaluation of the site and the proposed land-disturbing activities in the planning phase of the development.
Renewable Energy Equipment Manufacturer Tax Credit (North Carolina) North Carolina Industry Recruitment/Support No State/Territory House Bill 1829 of 2010 reinstated a tax credit for costs incurred in the construction or retooling of a facility to manufacture renewable energy property or "a major component subassembly for a solar array or wind turbine". Eligible costs include construction and equipment costs specifically associated with the manufacture of eligible equipment. The credit is worth 25% of the eligible costs and must be claimed in five equal annual installments beginning with the year the facility is placed in service.
Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Corporate) (North Carolina) North Carolina Corporate Tax Credit Yes State/Territory North Carolina offers a tax credit equal to 35% of the cost of eligible renewable energy property constructed, purchased or leased by a taxpayer and placed into service in North Carolina during the taxable year. The credit has been amended several times since its original inception. House Bill 512 of 2009 extended the eligibility to geothermal equipment, extended the expiration date to December 31, 2015, and allowed the credit to be taken against the Gross Premiums Tax. HB 1829 of 2010 further extended this credit to combined heat and power systems. The credit is subject to various ceilings depending on sector and the type of renewable-energy system. The following credit limits for various technologies and sectors apply:


  • A maximum of $3,500 per dwelling unit for active solar space heating, combined active solar space and domestic water-heating systems, and passive solar space heating used for a non-business purpose;
  • A maximum of $1,400 per installation for solar water-heating systems, including solar pool-heating systems used for a non-business purpose;
  • A maximum of $8,400 for geothermal heat pumps and geothermal equipment that uses geothermal energy for water heating or active space heating or cooling used for a non-business purpose;
  • A maximum of $10,500 per installation for photovoltaic systems (also known as PV systems or solar-electric systems), wind-energy systems, combined heat and power systems, or certain other renewable-energy systems used for a non-business purpose
  • A maximum of $2.5 million* per installation for all solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, combined heat and power (as defined by Section 48 of the U.S. Tax Code), and biomass applications** used for a business purpose***, including PV, daylighting, solar water-heating and space-heating technologies.

Renewable-energy equipment expenditures eligible for the tax credit include the cost of the equipment and associated design; construction costs; and installation costs less any discounts, rebates, advertising, installation-assistance credits, name-referral allowances or other similar reductions provided by public funds. SB 388 of 2010 clarified that federal grants made available by Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 do not constitute public funds.

The allowable credit may not exceed 50% of a taxpayer's state tax liability for the year, reduced by the sum of all other state tax credits. Qualifying renewable-energy systems used for a non-business purpose must take the maximum credit amount allowable for the tax year in which the system is installed. If the credit is not used entirely during the first year, the remaining amount may be carried over for the next five years.

For all other taxpayers, the credit is taken in five equal installments beginning with the year in which the property is placed in service. If the credit is not used entirely during these five years, the remaining amount may be carried over for the next five years. The credit can be taken against franchise tax, corporate tax, income tax, or in the case of insurance companies, against the gross premiums tax.

SB 3 of 2007 amended North Carolina's renewable energy tax credit statute to allow a taxpayer who donates money to a tax-exempt nonprofit to help fund a renewable energy project to claim a tax credit. The donor may claim a share of the credit -- proportional to the project costs donated -- that the nonprofit could claim if the organization were subject to tax. HB 2436 of 2008 applied this same mechanism to donations made to units of state and local governments.

Click the links below to access the relevant 2013 tax forms and instructions from the N.C. Department of Revenue.



* House Bill 1973 of 2010 specified that systems installed for business purposes at a site that has been certified as an eco-industrial park by the Secretary of Commerce are subject to a higher tax credit cap of $5 million. Section 5.1 of the bill describes the characteristics required to be deemed an eco-industrial park.

** The N.C. Tax Credit Guidelines and relevant North Carolina statutes provide a description of the types of biomass and biomass applications that are eligible for the tax credit. (See links above.) Note that residential wood burning stoves do not qualify for this tax credit.

***HB 1829 of 2010 states "renewable energy property is placed in service for a business purpose if the useful energy generated by the property is offered for sale or is used on-site for a purpose other than providing energy to a residence."
Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Personal) (North Carolina) North Carolina Personal Tax Credit Yes State/Territory North Carolina offers a tax credit equal to 35% of the cost of eligible renewable energy property constructed, purchased or leased by a taxpayer and placed into service in North Carolina during the taxable year. The credit has been amended several times since its original inception. House Bill 512 of 2009 extended the eligibility to geothermal equipment, extended the expiration date to December 31, 2015, and allowed the credit to be taken against the Gross Premiums Tax. HB 1829 of 2010 further extended this credit to combined heat and power systems. The credit is subject to various ceilings depending on sector and the type of renewable-energy system. The following credit limits for various technologies and sectors apply:


  • A maximum of $3,500 per dwelling unit for active solar space heating, combined active solar space and domestic water-heating systems, and passive solar space heating used for a non-business purpose;
  • A maximum of $1,400 per installation for solar water-heating systems, including solar pool-heating systems used for a non-business purpose;
  • A maximum of $8,400 for geothermal heat pumps and geothermal equipment that uses geothermal energy for water heating or active space heating or cooling used for a non-business purpose;
  • A maximum of $10,500 per installation for photovoltaic systems (also known as PV systems or solar-electric systems), wind-energy systems, combined heat and power systems, or certain other renewable-energy systems used for a non-business purpose
  • A maximum of $2.5 million* per installation for all solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, combined heat and power (as defined by Section 48 of the U.S. Tax Code), and biomass applications** used for a business purpose***, including PV, daylighting, solar water-heating and space-heating technologies.

Renewable-energy equipment expenditures eligible for the tax credit include the cost of the equipment and associated design; construction costs; and installation costs less any discounts, rebates, advertising, installation-assistance credits, name-referral allowances or other similar reductions provided by public funds. SB 388 of 2010 clarified that federal grants made available by Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 do not constitute public funds.

The allowable credit may not exceed 50% of a taxpayer's state tax liability for the year, reduced by the sum of all other state tax credits. Qualifying renewable-energy systems used for a non-business purpose must take the maximum credit amount allowable for the tax year in which the system is installed. If the credit is not used entirely during the first year, the remaining amount may be carried over for the next five years.

For all other taxpayers, the credit is taken in five equal installments beginning with the year in which the property is placed in service. If the credit is not used entirely during these five years, the remaining amount may be carried over for the next five years. The credit can be taken against franchise tax, corporate tax, income tax, or in the case of insurance companies, against the gross premiums tax.

SB 3 of 2007 amended North Carolina's renewable energy tax credit statute to allow a taxpayer who donates money to a tax-exempt nonprofit to help fund a renewable energy project to claim a tax credit. The donor may claim a share of the credit -- proportional to the project costs donated -- that the nonprofit could claim if the organization were subject to tax. HB 2436 of 2008 applied this same mechanism to donations made to units of state and local governments.

Click the links below to access the relevant 2013 tax forms and instructions from the N.C. Department of Revenue.



* House Bill 1973 of 2010 specified that systems installed for business purposes at a site that has been certified as an eco-industrial park by the Secretary of Commerce are subject to a higher tax credit cap of $5 million. Section 5.1 of the bill describes the characteristics required to be deemed an eco-industrial park.

** The N.C. Tax Credit Guidelines and relevant North Carolina statutes provide a description of the types of biomass and biomass applications that are eligible for the tax credit. (See links above.) Note that residential wood burning stoves do not qualify for this tax credit.

***HB 1829 of 2010 states "renewable energy property is placed in service for a business purpose if the useful energy generated by the property is offered for sale or is used on-site for a purpose other than providing energy to a residence."
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (North Carolina) North Carolina Renewables Portfolio Standard Yes State/Territory North Carolina's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), established by Senate Bill 3 in August 2007, requires all investor-owned utilities in the state to supply 12.5% of 2020 retail electricity sales (in North Carolina) from eligible energy resources by 2021. Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives must meet a target of 10% renewables by 2018 and are subject to slightly different rules. In February 2008, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) issued an order adopting final rules to implement the REPS.

Eligible energy resources include solar-electric, solar thermal, wind, hydropower up to 10 megawatts (MW), ocean current or wave energy, biomass* that uses Best Available Control Technology (BACT) for air emissions, landfill gas, combined heat and power (CHP) using waste heat from renewables, hydrogen derived from renewables, and electricity demand reduction*. Up to 25% of the requirement may be met through energy efficiency technologies, including CHP systems powered by non-renewable fuels. After 2021, up to 40% of the standard may be met through energy efficiency.

The overall target for renewable energy includes technology-specific targets of 0.2% solar by 2018 (which includes solar electric, solar water heating, solar absorption cooling, solar dehumidification, solar thermally driven refrigeration, and solar industrial process heat), 0.2% energy recovery from swine waste by 2018, and 900,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity derived from poultry waste by 2014. While the general renewable energy targets and solar set-asides apply individually to each utility, the targets for swine waste and poultry waste were written into the law to apply to the state as a whole, without assigning individual requirements for each utility. Given the difficulty of assessing a utility's compliance with a shared statewide requirement, the NCUC adopted a method for dividing the requirements among the utilities. Through this approach, each utility will be separately responsible for a portion of the swine and poultry waste requirements in proportion to the ratio of their previous year's electricity shares divided by the previous year's total statewide electricity sales. The March 2010 NCUC order also allows the utilities to jointly purchase energy derived from swine and poultry waste.

The NCUC has required that each electric power supplier submit its first annual REPS compliance plan by September 1, 2008. Beginning in 2009, each power supplier is required to file a compliance report, detailing the actions it has taken to fulfill the requirements of the REPS.

The compliance schedule for investor-owned utilities appears below. Note that each year's percentage requirement refers to the previous year's electricity sales (i.e., the 2021 standard is 12.5% of 2020 retail sales). The requirements for swine waste and poultry waste were amended by a NCUC Order in November 2012 by delaying requirements that had been previously established for 2012. The schedule presented below accounts for the changes approved by the NCUC.

  • 2010: 0.02% from solar
  • 2012: 3% (including 0.07% from solar)
  • 2013: 3% (including 0.07% from solar + 0.07% from swine waste + 170,000 MWh from poultry waste)
  • 2014: 3% (including 0.07% from solar + 0.07% from swine waste + 700,000 MWh from poultry waste)
  • 2015: 6% (including 0.14% from solar + 0.14% from swine waste + 900,000 MWh from poultry waste)
  • 2018: 10% (including 0.20% from solar + 0.20% from swine waste + 900,000 MWh from poultry waste)
  • 2021: 12.5% (including 0.20% from solar + 0.20% from swine waste + 900,000 MWh from poultry waste)

Electric cooperatives and municipal utilities must meet the solar, swine waste and poultry waste goals, but these utilities only must meet an overall target of 10% by 2018. Cooperatives and municipal utilities are permitted to use demand side management or energy efficiency to satisfy the standard without limitation, and may also use large hydropower to meet up to 30% of the renewable energy requirement.

Utilities may demonstrate compliance by procuring renewable energy credits (RECs) earned after January 1, 2008. Under NCUC rules, a REC is equivalent to 1 MWh of electricity derived from a renewable energy source, or an equivalent amount of thermal energy in the case of CHP and solar water heating, or 1 MWh of electricity avoided through an efficiency measure. The law explicitly states that RECs do not include credit for emissions reductions from oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, mercury or carbon dioxide. RECs must be purchased within three years of their generation, and must be retired within seven years from when their cost was recovered. Utilities may use unbundled RECs from out-of-state renewable energy facilities to meet up to 25% of the portfolio standard. Qualifying out-of-state facilities are (1) hydroelectric power facilities with a generation capacity up to 10 MW, or (2) renewable energy facilities placed into service on or after January 1, 2007. Suppliers with fewer than 150,000 customers are not limited in the amount of out-of-state renewable energy RECs they may procure to meet the standard. As required by SB 90 of 2009, the NCUC adopted the North Carolina Renewable Energy Tracking System (NC-RETS) in July of 2010 to ensure proper counting of RECs. For the purposes of REC compliance, the Commission will assign triple credit for every one REC generated by the first 20 MW of a biomass facility located at a "cleanfields renewable energy demonstration park", as defined by SB 886.

Utilities may recover the incremental cost of renewable resources and up to $1 million in alternative energy research expenditures annually from customers. The cost per customer account is capped according to the following schedule:

Sector 2008 2012 2015
Residential $10 $12 $34
Commercial $50 $150 $150
Industrial $500 $1000 $1000


The NCUC is responsible for administering the REPS and may adjust or modify the REPS schedule if the commission deems such modifications to be in the public interest. Under the NCUC's final rules, there are no specified penalties or alternative payments for noncompliance, but the commission has existing authority under Chapter 62 of the N.C. General Statutes to enforce compliance.

* Senate Bill 75 of 2011 allows for electricity demand reduction to count towards the standard. Unlike "energy efficiency measures", which are only allowed to account for 25% of a utility's requirement, electricity demand reduction is capable of meeting up to 100% of a utility's renewable energy requirement under the law. Senate Bill 75 defines electricity demand reduction as "a measurable reduction in the electricity demand of a retail electric customer that is voluntary, under the real-time control of both the electric power supplier and the retail electric customer, and measured in real time, using two-way communications devices that communicate on the basis of standards."
Roanoke River Basin Bi-State Commission (Multiple States) North Carolina
Virginia
Environmental Regulations Yes Local The Roanoke River Basin Bi-State Commission was established as a bi-state commission composed of members from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of North Carolina. The purpose of the commission is to:

(a) Provide guidance, conduct joint meetings, and make recommendations to local, state, and federal legislative and administrative bodies, and to others as it deems necessary and appropriate, regarding the use, stewardship, and enhancement of the Basin's water and other natural resources;

(b) Provide a forum for discussion of issues affecting the Basin's water quantity, water quality, and other natural resources; (c) Promote communication, coordination, and education among stakeholders within the Basin; (d) Identify Basin-related problems and recommend appropriate solutions; and

(e) Undertake studies and prepare, publish, and disseminate information through reports, and other communications related to water quantity, water quality, and other natural resources of the Basin.
Solid Waste Management (North Carolina) North Carolina Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province The Solid Waste Program regulates safe management of solid waste through guidance, technical assistance, regulations, permitting, environmental monitoring, compliance evaluation and enforcement. Waste types handled at these facilities include municipal solid waste, industrial waste, construction and demolition waste, land-clearing waste, scrap tires, medical waste, compost, and septage.
Southern States Energy Compact (Multiple States) Alabama
Arkansas
Florida
Georgia
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maryland
Mississippi
Missouri
North Carolina
Oklahoma
Puerto Rico
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
United States Virgin Islands
Virginia
West Virginia
Industry Recruitment/Support
Environmental Regulations
Yes State/Province The Southern States Energy Compact provides for the proper employment and conservation of energy, and for the employment of energy-related facilities, materials, and products, within the context of a responsible regard for the environment, among the Southeastern states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Southern States Energy Board is responsible for administering the Compact and may adopt bylaws, rules, and regulations in conjunction with state agencies. The Board also encourages the development, conservation, and responsible use of energy and energy-related facilities, installations, and products as part of a balanced economy and a healthy environment.
Stormwater Management (North Carolina) North Carolina Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province The rules in this Section set forth the requirements for application and issuance of permits for stormwater management systems. These requirements to control pollutants associated with stormwater runoff apply to development of land for residential, commercial, industrial, or institutional use but do not apply to land management activities associated with agriculture. To ensure the protection of surface waters of the, a permit is required in accordance with the provisions of this Section for any development activities which require a Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) major development permit or a Sedimentation/Erosion Control Plan. For every application for a new or revised permit, a nonrefundable application processing fee shall be submitted at the time of application.
Surface Water and Wetland Standards (North Carolina) North Carolina Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province These rules state the standards for classification of water supply. Each stream in North Carolina has a classification based upon its designated uses. These rules provide the Environmental Management Commission a method of setting standards. The rules also establish the physical, chemical, and biological standards required to protect each stream class. Each stream in North Carolina has an index number based upon its river basin and location within that basin. The rules also list by basin and index number the classification for each stream.
TVA - Green Power Providers (North Carolina) North Carolina Performance-Based Incentive Yes Utility Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and participating power distributors of TVA power offer a performance-based incentive program to homeowners and businesses for the installation of renewable generation systems from the following qualifying resources: PV, wind, hydropower, and biomass. The long term Green Power Providers program replaces the Generation Partners* pilot program. The energy generated from these renewable generation systems will count towards TVA's green power pricing program, Green Power Switch.


The Green Power Providers program contract term is 20 years. For years 1-10, TVA will purchase 100% of the output from qualifying solar systems at a premium of $0.04** per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and from all other systems at $0.03 kWh** on top of the retail electricity rate. Participants will be paid only the applicable retail rate for years 11-20 of the contract. Premium payments will be reviewed annually by TVA, with plans to phase these payments out over the life of the program. All new participants in the Generation Power Providers program will receive a $1,000 incentive to offset the upfront cost. Participation in the Generation Power Providers program is subject to annual limits imposed by TVA and based upon available budget, the value of renewable technologies to TVA and renewable energy market conditions. Eligible Systems must not have previously generated renewable energy for sale to TVA prior to October 1, 2012, unless the system was part of the Generation Partners pilot.


TVA will retain all rights to all renewable energy credits and any other environmental attributes provided by system. Payment is made by either the Distributor Billing Option or the TVA-Vendor Direct Billing Option. With the Distributor Billing Option, a generation credit is issued by the local power company on the monthly power bill for the home or business where the generation system is located. If a qualifying system produces more electricity than the customer consumes, payment for any excess credits will be issued either monthly or annually, at the discretion of the power company. With the TVA-Vendor Direct Billing Option, participants receive the retail-rate portion of their monthly generation credit from the local power company and the premium rate is issued through a TVA-designated third party vendor.


Qualifying systems will have a minimum total nameplate generation capacity (DC) of 500 watts (W) and a maximum of 50 kilowatts (kW). Systems over 50kW may qualify to participate in TVA’s Mid-Sized Renewable Standard Offer program (link to DSIRE summary). Systems greater than 10 kilowatts in size will be subject to a load requirement. A “load requirement” simply means that the system’s maximum capacity will be limited so that it should not generate more than 100% of the energy usage or consumption at the home or business. TVA will conduct annual program evaluations to set annual MW limits to the program. These limits will be made available on the Generation Power Providers web site. A limit of 2.5 MW in nameplate capacity has been set for the remainder of the 2012 calendar year and 9 MW in nameplate capacity for the 2013 calendar year.


Installations must comply with local codes and adhere to guidelines established by the program. All equipment must be in compliance with environmental regulations and national standards, certified by a licensed electrician, and meet all applicable codes. Systems must be dual-metered, have an external disconnect switch, be grid-tied, and be validated under an interconnection agreement.


* Existing Generation Partners participants may qualify for a 10 year contract extension to be paid at retail prices.


**Prices reflect Premium Rates for 2014 Calendar Year and are applicable for agreements executed and dated by TVA on or after January 1, 2014 but on or prior to December 31, 2014.
TVA - Mid-Sized Renewable Standard Offer Program (North Carolina) North Carolina Performance-Based Incentive Yes Utility NOTE: TVA has issued additional 100 MW of capacity for Renewable Standard Offer (RSO) program for 2015. Applications for new projects will open starting January 2, 2015.


The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) now compliments the small generation Green Power Providers Program by providing incentives for mid-sized renewable energy generators between 50kW and 20MW to enter into long term price contracts. The goal for total production from all participants is 100MW, with no more than 50MW from any one renewable technology. The Renewable Standard Offer program also includes Solar Solution Initiative program that offers additional financial incentives for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) projects.


TVA bases the standard offer for customer generators off of a seasonal time-of-day averages chart, which sets base prices for the term of the contract. For projects approved after January 2015, prices increase at a rate of 5% per year beginning in 2016 and may be changed with 90 days’ notice by TVA (no more than 1% per year). For 2015, the average price is expected range between $0.029/kWh during low demand periods to $0.051/kWh during high demand periods. Learn more about pricing here. Generation is recorded monthly through metering equipment installed by TVA and paid for by the participant.


All energy output, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), or other environmental attributes from installations under this program belong to TVA, and all marketing of the program should indicate that TVA (not the power seller) consumes all of the energy from these renewable energy projects. Biomass, Wind, or Photovoltaics can be interconnected through either TVA's transmission system or partners' distribution systems under 10, 15, or 20 year contracts. Biomass should co-fire 50% or more with the fuel consumption content approved by TVA and separately metered. The remainder of the biomass production can be purchased through the TVA's Dispersed Power Production Program.


Before approval, the seller must provide TVA with project financing arrangements, interconnection agreements between the seller and either TVA or a Distributor, and TVA metering installation plans at an environmentally acceptable location. The participating power producer is responsible for interconnection, performance assurance, and application costs. TVA, or an approved third party, will also perform an environmental review at the seller’s cost.
Town of Carrboro - Worthwhile Investments Save Energy (WISE) Homes and Buildings Program (North Carolina) North Carolina Local Loan Program Yes Local The Town of Carrboro is providing loans to Carrboro businesses and non-profits with fewer than 50 employees to increase their energy efficiency. The current interest rate is 3% and the maximum loan term is 10 years. Loan applicants must give the town their previous 12 utility bills, and must agree to continue submitting their utility bills for 3 years after the work is complete so the town can measure the performance of the retrofits and the success of their program.

A wide variety of efficiency improvements are eligible for financing through this program. Participants are required to have an energy evaluation conducted by a program qualified assessor or contractor prior to submitting their loan application. The energy evaluation will identify the highest priority improvements, and the cost of the evaluation can be included in the loan amount. Solar hot water and photovoltaic (PV) installations are eligible for financing only if they are combined with energy efficiency improvements that are anticipated to yield 15% energy savings.

See website above for more information.


This Program is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Program. The DOE has awarded over $500 million in federal funds to more than 40 states, local governments, and organizations to administer local programs targeting a variety of building types. Combined, these local programs are expected to improve the efficiency of more than 170,000 buildings through 2013 and save up to $65 million in energy costs annually.
Town of Chapel Hill - Land-Use Management Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Access Policy Yes Local In 2003, the Town of Chapel Hill adopted a land-use management ordinance that includes prohibitions against neighborhood or homeowners association covenants or other conditions of sale that restrict or prohibit the use, installation or maintenance of solar-collection devices. This ordinance was adopted prior to North Carolina's statewide solar access law. Chapel Hill's ordinance provides stronger protection for solar-energy systems than the state law.
Town of Kill Devil Hills - Wind Energy Systems Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local In October 2007, the town of Kill Devil Hills adopted an ordinance to regulate the use of wind-energy systems. The ordinance directs any individual or organization wishing to install a wind-energy system to obtain a zoning permit from the town planning board.

Size Requirements: Wind turbine towers are restricted to a height of 80 feet with a maximum rotor size of 23 feet in diameter. The combined height of the system must not exceed 92 feet above finished grade. All wind systems are limited to a rated power of 10 kilowatts (kW).

Visual Appearance: Towers and rotor blades must maintain a neutral color and must not create a visual distraction from the ground. Wind systems must also remain free from signage and artificial lighting, except that which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). No type of communications antennae or array may be installed or connected to the wind turbine.

Setbacks: The site for wind system installations must be at least one acre. Wind systems must be set back from all property lines by at least the distance of their height. They must also maintain a distance of at least 250 feet from certain highways and 100 feet from each other.

Installation and Noise Requirements: Wind turbine towers must be a self-supporting tubular tower (monopole); self-supporting lattice tower; or a guyed-lattice typed with a minimum guy radius of 50% of the tower height and a maximum radius of 90% of its height. The base of the tower must be secured in a way that prevents climbing. All systems must maintain a noise level of less than 60 decibels in keeping with town code. A North Carolina licensed Professional Engineer must seal all structural plans and all components of the system must conform to relevant local, state and national codes.
Tyrrell County - Wind Energy Facility Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local Tyrrell County, located in northeastern North Carolina, adopted a wind ordinance in 2009 to regulate the use of wind energy facilities in the unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance is substantially similar to the model wind ordinance drafted by the North Carolina Wind Working Group, and establishes parameters for the permitting process, height restrictions, minimum setbacks, noise and shadow flicker, installation and design, and decommissioning of retired systems.
For the purposes of this ordinance, wind energy facilities are classified as "small" if they consist of a single wind turbine with a rated generating capacity of 20 kilowatts (kW) or less, "medium" if one or more wind energy facilities have a total rated capacity of more than 20 kW but not greater than 100 kW, "large" if they have a total rated capacity of more than 100 kW but less than 999 kW, utility scale if they have a rated capacity of 1 MW or greater.  

Permitting Process: All new wind energy facilities, or expansions of existing facilities must receive a permit from the County Planning Board prior to construction. A permit application must include a narrative describing the facility; approximate generating capacity; the proposed number and height of all wind turbines to be built; location of the proposed site and names and addresses of all adjoining property owners; a detailed site plan; certification of compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations; decommissioning plans; and financial assurance that the owner can pay for decommissioning.

Height Requirements: The total height of a wind turbine is determined by the height above grade to the tip of the turbine blade as it reaches its highest elevation. Small wind systems are restricted to a 120-foot height limit, whereas medium and large systems are restricted to a 250-foot height limit, and utility scale systems are restricted to a 500-foot limit.

Setbacks: The setback is calculated by multiplying the required setback number by the wind turbine height and measured from the center of the wind turbine base to the property line, building or road. Setbacks are generally determined by the following table:


Wind Energy Facility Type Occupied Buildings on System Owner's Property Occupied Buildings on Adjacent Property Property Lines and Right-of-Ways Highway 64
Small Facility 0.0 1.5 1.1 1.5
Medium Facility 1.1 2.0 1.5 1.5
Large System 1.1 2.5 1.5 1.5
Utility Scale 1.1 2.5 1.5 1.5
Noise and Shadow Flicker: Noise and shadow flicker issues for small and medium wind energy facilities are addressed by setbacks, or will be addressed by existing noise ordinances. Audible sound from a large or utility scale wind energy facility should not exceed fifty-five dBA, as measured at any occupied building of a non-participating landowner. Shadow flicker at any occupied building on an adjacent property caused by a large or utility scale wind energy facility located within 2,500 ft of the building shall not exceed thirty hours per year. These restrictions may be waived under certain conditions. Installation and Design: The installation of wind energy facilities must conform to all applicable industrial standards, including those of the American National Standards Institute. All structural, electrical and mechanical components for the facility must conform to relevant local, state and federal codes. Towers and rotor blades must be of a non-obtrusive color approved by the County Planning Board. Wind energy facilities must also remain free from advertising, including flags, streamers and other decorative items, as well as artificial lighting, except that which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Any on-site transmission or power lines must, to the extent possible, be placed underground.
Waste not Discharged to Surface Waters (North Carolina) North Carolina Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province The rules in this Subchapter apply to all persons proposing to construct, alter, extend, or operate any sewer system, treatment works, disposal system, contaminates soil treatment system, animal waste management system, stormwater management system or residual disposal/utilization system which does not discharge to surface waters of the state, including systems which discharge waste onto or below land surface. However, these Rules do not apply to sanitary sewage systems or solid waste management facilities which are permitted under the authority of the Commission for Public Health. Applications for permits from the Division shall be made in accordance with this Rule. Applications for permits under the jurisdiction of a local program shall be made in accordance with the requirements of the Division approved program.
Watauga County - Wind Energy System Ordinance (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes Local In 2006, Watauga County adopted a wind ordinance to regulate the use of wind-energy systems in the county and to describe the conditions by which a permit for installing such a system may be obtained. This policy was adopted in the context of an on-going debate over the legal interpretation of the 1983 Ridge Protection Act.

For the purposes of this ordinance, wind-energy systems are classified as “large” if they consist of one or more turbines with a rated generating capacity of more than 20 kilowatts (kW) and “small” if a project consists of a single turbine rated at less than 20 kW.* A site permit is required to establish, place, operate, maintain, expand or enlarge a wind-energy system.

Height Requirements: The total height of a wind turbine is determined by the height above grade to the tip of the turbine blade as it reaches its highest point of rotation. The height limit for small wind turbines is 135 feet. Large systems may be taller if approved by the county planning board.

Visual Appearance: Towers and rotor blades must maintain a galvanized finish or be painted so as to conform to their surroundings and reduce visual obtrusiveness. Wind-energy systems must also remain free from signage, advertising, flags, streamers, and other decorative items.

Setbacks: The ordinance requires that the base of the wind turbine must not be closer to surrounding property lines than its height unless a professional engineer (registered in North Carolina) certifies that the fall zone of the turbine will be within the proposed setback area. Wind-energy systems must also be set back from inhabited structures on adjacent property at least 1.5 times the height of the turbine.

Building Permit Requirements: A building permit shall be required and building permit applications for small wind energy systems shall be accompanied by standard drawings of the wind turbine structure, including the tower, base, and footings. An engineering analysis of the tower, certified by a licensed professional engineer. This includes standards for ice/wind loading. This analysis may be supplied by the manufacturer. Wet stamps shall not be required.

Impact Analysis, Mitigation, and Planning: Applications for site permits for large wind-energy projects must include the following: building and electrical permits; site and design information; construction, operation, maintenance and insurance information; decommissioning information; a comprehensive impact analysis and all other relevant permits and approvals. All applicants must also undergo a public hearing so that the Watauga County planning board may receive comments and other information pertinent to the application.

* Multiple small wind-energy systems located on farms, as defined in theWatauga County High Impact Land Use Ordinance, are considered to be separate small wind-energy systems even if the aggregate rated capacity exceeds 20 kW, provided that the primary intent is to generate power to reduce on-site consumption.
Water Use Act of 1967 (North Carolina) North Carolina Environmental Regulations Yes State/Province This act sets rules for withdrawing waters in excess of 100,000 gallons per day, for constructing, installing or operating any new well or withdrawal facilities having a capacity in excess of a rate established by the rule, prohibiting any person discharging water pollutants to the waters from increasing the rate of discharge in excess of the rate established in the rule, prohibiting any person from constructing, installing or operating any facility that will or may result in the discharge of water pollutants to the waters in excess of the rate established in the rule.

In areas declared by the Environmental Management Commission to be capacity use areas no person shall (after the expiration of such period, not in excess of six months, as the Commission may designate) withdraw, obtain, or utilize surface waters or groundwaters or both, as the case may be, in excess of 100,000 gallons per day for any purpose unless such person shall first obtain a permit therefor from the Commission. When necessary for enforcement and when authorized by rules of the Commission, employees of the Commission may inspect any property, public or private, to investigate the condition, withdrawal or use of any waters; water sources; or the installation or operation of any well or surface water withdrawal or use facility.

It is against the public policy of North Carolina to withdraw water from any major river or reservoir if both of the following factors are present: (i) the withdrawal will cause the natural flow of water in the river or a portion of the reservoir to be reversed; and (ii) substantial portions of the water are not returned to the river system after use.
Water Use Registration and Allocation (North Carolina) North Carolina Siting and Permitting Yes State/Province This rule states regulations for water withdrawals, permits required for withdrawals and water use during water droughts and emergencies. Self-supplied business and industrial water users subject to the water withdrawal registration shall prepare a written plan, for responding to water shortages that is consistent with industry water efficiency and drought response guidelines. Business and industrial water users that depend on the water storage of a privately or publicly owned impoundment or withdraw water under a contract issued by the owner of an impoundment shall have a written plan for responding to water shortages that is consistent with the provisions of the contract and with any Water Shortage Response Plan provisions established by the owner of the impoundment. Business and industrial water users that are supplied water by a publicly or privately owned water system shall establish a procedure for responding to water shortages that is complementary to their water purveyor's Water Shortage Response Plan.
Wind Energy Permitting Standards (North Carolina) North Carolina Solar/Wind Permitting Standards Yes State/Territory North Carolina has statewide permitting requirements for wind energy facilities. Any wind turbine or collection of wind turbines located within a half mile of each other with a collective rated capacity of one megawatt (MW) or greater must receive a permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) before starting construction. The legislation provides details regarding the process and timeline for obtaining a permit, siting considerations, approval criteria, fees, and other requirements. Refer to the legislation for the full details.