91% of voters support using solar power in NC —Ivan Urlaub of NCSEA

Like the previous speaker, Ivan Urlaub of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) pointed out there are downsides to too many incentives, such as too much dependence on them which means if they end, so can the industry. So how to generate demand?

They’ve done it in North Carolina:

91% of voters support using solar power to meet our growing needs for energy and electricity
Solar is hands down the most popular energy source across NC, across parties, ages, genders, etc. Coal and nuclear are the politically charged energy sources, and neither got a majority. Number 2 was offshore wind with 83% and number 3 was onshore wind with 82% support. Here’s the NCSEA press release. Here’s the survey.

How did they do this? Had to get a little demand. Had to have voluntary green power buyin. (Hm, like the one Georgia Power has.) Then tax credit. (Hm, Georgia already has that.) Net metering. (Georgia already has that.) Interconnection standard. Improving. Becoming aware of the systems. Learning together.

Throttle up or throttle back based on what we’re experiencing.
Policy makers didn’t understand it at first, because they only heard about places like Germany or New Jersey, but now:
They’ve started talking about it because there are systems in their back yards.
NC legislature passed a law requiring power companies to report data, which NCSEA has compiled into NC clean energy book that compares wind, solar, biomass, etc. It’s available online.

56% of the solar jobs are in R&ampD in NC.

We took this narrow initial step of just getting it on rooftops, and learning from that.
Ramped up to studying the entire whole solar ecosystem. Brought in delegations from Germany and Korea. The citizens also are becoming more aware of it. And the people want solar power.

His presentation also included many fascinating maps and charts showing where the power companies are and how quickly solar prices will drop below current utility power source prices: between 2014 and 2018. Unless they build nuclear, which will run up traditional power prices and move the solar grid parity dates sooner.

During the Q&A session, he said the key was:

Constituency building. Getting more visibility to what’s already present. So people couldn’t claim that if you add more energy the grid’s going to crash.
Constituency building.