Among those who gathered at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science’s Nature Research Center were state and local officials, local landowners, legal experts, and clean energy business representatives.
The eventual product will be the Southeast’s first-of-its-kind guide for harmonizing the elements included in the permitting of solar energy facilities, offering a path that could facilitate solar project development for companies and landowners while simultaneously creating a framework for the inclusion of local values and interests
“The Solar Development and Siting forums bring together a wide cross section of stakeholders to discuss the issues and challenges facing solar projects, with the goal of developing a template solar ordinance for North Carolina that can be adapted and adopted by counties and municipalities across the state”, said Tommy Cleveland, Solar Engineer with the N.C. Solar Center.
North Carolina has experienced dynamic growth in solar photovoltaic system development; much of it in rural areas of North Carolina where jobs have been created and tax bases have grown.
Still, there is limited education for the general public, land owners, and local governments on facilitating this type of development in a way that harmonizes with local needs. This initial public forum garnered input from stakeholders representing a wide array of sectors, including citizens who were interested in the issues.
“This forum demonstrated the tremendous interest that is out there on the technical, social, and environmental aspects of solar projects,” said Miriam Makhyoun, Manager of Market Intelligence for the NC Sustainable Energy Association. “The knowledge being shared at this event and the others to come can serve as a blueprint to make sure everyone wins in the communities where solar energy projects are located.”
The meetings will continue through October.
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