North Carolina surpassed states with some-more auspicious solar resources to turn a state with a second-highest volume of commissioned utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) ability owned by eccentric appetite producers in 2015, behind usually California. Utility-scale—one megawatt (MW) or greater—solar PV expansion in North Carolina has been speedy by a decades-old sovereign mandate, a Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978(PURPA), and by state policies such as a renewable portfolio customary and a state renewable appetite taxation credit. Currently, 1,173 MW, or 92%, of North Carolina’s 1,271 MW utility-scale PV ability is approved to have qualifying trickery (QF) tiny appetite writer standing underneath PURPA, that is some-more than any state in both comprehensive and commission terms.
Congress upheld PURPA in 1978 to foster choice appetite resources and appetite efficiency, as good as to variegate a electric appetite industry. PURPA requires utilities to squeeze appetite generated by subordinate comforts during a rate of a utility’s avoided cost. Avoided cost is a cost a application would catch if it chose to possibly yield a appetite itself (by building new capacity) or to squeeze a appetite from nonqualifying facilities.
Although PURPA is a sovereign mandate, particular states were left to set specifics such as a avoided cost calculation and a smallest ability threshold. For North Carolina, utilities are compulsory to settle adult to 15-year fixed-avoided cost contracts for authorised solar PV subordinate comforts (QF) with a agreement ability of adult to 5 MW. The accessibility of long-term contracts helps solar PV developers secure plan financing. North Carolina’s proceed contrasts with a approaches of other states such as Arizona or Nevada, where a utilities offer contracts with shorter agreement terms or with reduce ability thresholds. Furthermore, a new build-out of PV in North Carolina indicates that a avoided cost rates in that state, in further to state and sovereign incentives, are appealing to PV developers.
Renewable electric era ability by eccentric appetite producers grew for many of a 1980s and early 1990s, mostly as a outcome of California’s doing of PURPA. PURPA’s change decreased in a 1990s when fuel prices declined, that lessened a competitiveness of renewable appetite compared with other fuel sources. Around a same time, many states revised their PURPA rules, that reduced a compulsory avoided-cost rate and agreement length.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorised states with rival electricity markets to opt out of PURPA, alleviation PURPA’s impact in states participating in informal delivery organizations (RTOs), though gripping PURPA applicable in areas such as a Southeast and Northwest that do not have RTOs. Although PURPA doing in states such as Arizona and Nevada is not as auspicious to PV as it is in North Carolina, these states have (or have had) other state-level programs that, when total with their auspicious solar resources, have speedy poignant utility-scale solar PV development.