According to a staff report available before the meeting by Jennifer Barnette, Buncombe County’s budget director, the money comes from two federal programs funneled through the N.C. State Board of Elections. The federal coronavirus rescue package accounts for about $183,000 of the funding, while the Help America Vote Act provides the remaining $172,000.
Together, the city of Asheville and Buncombe County approved over $11 million in funding to install roughly 7 megawatts of solar power at public facilities and area schools. The projects are anticipated to save the governments and local schools roughly $650,000 in electricity costs in the first year and more than $27 million over the installations’ 30-year operational life.
Mike Diethelm, president and founder of Asheville-based SolFarm Solar Co., says a $10 million construction bond requirement for would-be bidders on the solar projects “knocks out so many local medium and small solar businesses, which we have a lot of in this town, and only opens it up to the big guys.”
“The loss of life and damage caused by current global warming demonstrates that the Earth is already too hot for safety,” states the document approved by a 6-0 vote of Asheville City Council on Jan. 28. “Restoring a safe and stable climate requires an emergency climate mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II.”
Many public commenters urged the commissioners to act even more decisively on transitioning away from fossil fuels in the context of climate change. Chloe Moore with the Sunrise Movement referenced a scientific paper, published earlier that day, in which over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries declared a “climate emergency” and warned of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” if stronger measures were not taken.
Buncombe County has identified over $2.9 million in solar energy projects that could be installed at government-owned facilities. The projects are estimated to generate more than $4.7 million in energy savings over their estimated 30-year operational lifespan and help the county reach its goal of powering all government operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030.
More than 30 bands on three stages plus classes covering everything from aquaponics to regenerative agriculture practices are on the schedule for the three-day festival.
As demand for solar energy increases, members of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association worry that negative word-of-mouth about experiences with renewables could undermine trust in established installers. In August, the trade group developed a “Solar Business Code” establishing fundamental professional standards.
“I believe that if everyone does what they can to move toward clean energy and presses their elected officials to do the same, we can reach our goals and stop the cataclysmic disasters of climate change.”
When Boone Guyton and Claudia Cady take to the road, they are driving on energy gathered from the sun by their home solar panel system. The couple made the switch to an electric vehicle as a personal step to fight climate change.
“Call your North Carolina legislators. Urge them to pass legislation to scale up solar. They should make it easier, not harder, to cultivate the bountiful energy offered by our sun.”
The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners approved a variety of sustainability measures while continued talks about the current spending freeze on capital projects at A-B Tech was put on hold at the school’s request.
North Carolina reached a milestone this year as a national and regional leader in solar energy, but the expiration of a key state tax credit threatens to undermine that success. Solar power installations in the state surpassed a combined 1 gigawatt in capacity for the first time recently, according to a clean energy census by […]
When Pope Francis in his Encyclical Laudato Si told us to care for the earth, St. Eugene Catholic Church took up the challenge. The day before the Pope’s visit St. Eugene in north Asheville began installing 146 solar panels. When completed, this will produce 46,720 watts of power. The project was announced on Solar Sunday, March 8 and fund-raising was completed six months and a day later.
Time may be running out on the North Carolina renewable-energy tax credits, and, if so, “it may not be possible for congregations to put their faith into action,” cautions Susannah Tuttle, executive director of N.C. Interfaith Power and Light.
Now that the cost of ‘going solar’ on a home is equivalent to buying a new car, the challenge is no longer technical but affordable financing. America’s ubiquitous automobiles would not be us without financing. So why not finance solar in the same fashion? This question and others regarding investing in clean energy, from residential […]
On May 30, Clean Energy for Western North Carolina, the Garden Club for America’s local French Broad chapter and Audubon North Carolina (NC) will be hosting their first Solar Saturday event to “kick off” this summer season.
“Having the citizens be able to choose what kind of power they will pay for is so very, very long overdue.”
St. Eugene Catholic Church in North Asheville announced earlier this month that it will install 146 solar panels this year.
It was heartening to read the story about First Congregational United Church of Christ’s commitment to get as far off the electric grid as possible. The stated goal is to completely offset their power consumption. Their fundraising event as described in the Conscious Party article [“Souls for Solar,” March 11, Xpress] was a great way […]
Kelly Martin of the Western North Carolina Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative spoke at the Council of Independent Business Owners’ Friday, Feb. 7, meeting to address future goals and investments that could help wean the region off coal energy dependency.