Buncombe County seal

Buncombe receives $355K for elections during COVID-19

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.

Solar panels on parking garage

Green in brief: Local government­s fund community solar, Asheville School conducts first in-city deer hunt

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.

Josh Kelly by logging road

Green in brief: Small firms claim exclusion from local public solar process, Forest Service OKs Buck Project

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.”

Weeping Planet Earth costume

Green in brief: Asheville declares climate emergency, Duke opens Arden gas plant

“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.”

Students speaking for solar at the Buncombe County Commission

Solar plans win Buncombe commission approval

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 seal

Public solar proposal up for Nov. 5 county vote

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.

Solar house

Duke solar rebate program leads to call for ethics in renewables

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.

St. Eugene Church accepts Pope’s challenge and installs solar

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.

Financing the future: Self-Help Credit Union lauded for $76 million in solar loans

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 […]