Professional Engineers Of North Carolina

FALL 2014

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25 Fall 2014 the Professional Engineer Rural land owners also are capitalizing on solar system land leases. Tese leases generally span 15 to 40 years and provide a steady source of income by simply leasing land parcels, enabling greater fnancial fexibility for other agricultural endeavors. In several instances, long- term solar leases have helped families avoid selling their farms. Digging deeper into economic analysis of the impact of solar investment, much of it has been concentrated in counties with tier 1 or tier 2 designation from the North Carolina Department of Commerce. According to the department, the county tier designation is based on economic well-being by evaluating property tax base per capita, percentage growth in popula- tion, median household income and average unemployment rate. Tiers 1 and 2 are the most distressed designations, with tier 3 the most stable. RTI International says that, of the 10 North Carolina counties with the most solar PV investment, nine are tier 1 or 2. For example, Robeson County is desig- nated as tier 1 and has experienced the highest amount of solar PV investment in North Carolina ($151,251,540). More than half of North Carolina's 100 counties have experienced in excess of $1 million in solar PV investment, totaling $1.5 billion since 2007. Tese projects add to the critical tax base without the need for new government services. Solar installa- tions are community assets that will last for decades, providing clean, reliable energy without added noise, trafc, odor or pollution. Solar development creates benefts for all stakeholders, and North Carolina voters are continuing to support solar. A 2014 Fallon Research public opinion poll of registered North Carolina voters found broad support across party lines for both solar energy and increased competition in the energy industry. Specifcally, 90 percent of respondents supported using solar power to meet growing needs for energy and electricity to residences and businesses in North Carolina. Tis is an overwhelmingly positive response to the solar industry and a sign for policy- makers to continue support for the REPS; the REITC; and all future policy drivers that encourage clean, reliable and afordable energy. Aligning performance with pressing requirements to achieve outstanding results ARCHITECTS ENGINEERS CONSULTANTS www.dewberry.com Ivan Urlaub is the executive director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. Ralph Tompson, PE, is the chairman of the board of directors for the North Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance .

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