North Carolina Renewable Energy

on February 2, 2017

North Carolina ranks in the bottom three states for total energy consumption per capita, but electricity is still the largest consumer of energy in the state. North Carolina has relied heavily on fossil fuels to power its homes and businesses for decades, where coal, nuclear energy, and natural gas have been the leading energy sources in the state. Today, nuclear energy makes up about 33% of the North Carolina’s energy mix, helping make North Carolina the 5th largest producer of nuclear power in the country.

Despite these dirtier trends, North Carolina renewable energy is expanding rapidly. In 2015, approximately 7% of North Carolina’s energy mix came from renewable sources such as hydroelectric, biomass, and solar. Though mainly producing hydroelectric energy, North Carolina ranks 3rd in the country in installed solar capacity.

North Carolina has already installed over 2,436 MW of solar energy, and is expected to more than double its capacity over the next 5 years by adding 3,656 MW of solar electric capacity. Wind power, on the other hand, just recently took off. In 2015, North Carolina started construction on the state’s first commercial-scale wind farm, which will be the largest wind farm in the Southeast to date.

North Carolina Electricity Prices

North Carolina has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.

Fortunately, North Carolina residents still benefit from lower electricity prices relative to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for North Carolina residents in November 2016 was 11.22¢ per kWh, a whole 1.55¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.75¢ per kWh.

Residential electricity prices are still on the rise in North Carolina, though, having increased more than 11.46% over the past 5 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for North Carolina residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.

North Carolina Energy Mix

Net Electricity Generation By Source:

Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016

North Carolina produces about 4 times more electricity from natural gas than it did 5 years ago. Electricity production from coal has fallen 44% over the same time period.

North Carolina Energy Sector Employment

North Carolina has the fastest growing energy industry in the Southeast, growing 9.3% since 2010 and employing over 39,000 people. The largest employers include utility companies such as Duke Energy and Dominion Energy and energy efficiency companies like GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Siemens, and Schneider Electric. North Carolina also has over 206 solar companies, such as Strata Solar, that provide thousands of renewable energy jobs for the state.

Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.


North Carolina Utility Companies

The largest utility companies in North Carolina are Duke Energy, Duke Energy Progress, Dominion Energy, and PSNC Energy. Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.

Many renewable projects have been built in North Carolina by utility companies to date. Local solar companies and large tech companies such as Amazon and Apple have also invested millions of dollars into solar and wind projects across the state.

Duke Energy

• Generates and supplies electricity and natural gas
• Number of customers served: 1,921,000
• Primary service areas: Charlotte, Greensboro, and Durham

Duke Energy Progress

• Generates and supplies electricity and natural gas
• Number of customers served: 1,339,000
• Primary service areas: Asheville, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Wilmington

Dominion North Carolina Energy

• Generates and supplies electricity and natural gas
• Number of customers served: 120,000
• Primary service areas: Northeastern North Carolina


Arcadia's North Carolina Renewable Energy Services

With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to North Carolina residents.

Wind Energy

As a North Carolina utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.

Learn more about how it works >

Community Solar

We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in North Carolina. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.

See our projects and check availability in your area >

Zero-down Energy Efficient Products

Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables North Carolina utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.

Learn more and reserve your Smart Thermostat today >