Smart Growth

Smart Energy

A Little Land... A Lot of Impact

North Carolina ranks second in the nation for cumulative solar installations. At that same time, only about 0.2% of cropland in North Carolina has been re-purposed from agriculture to solar.

Putting these numbers in perspective, within the last decade, there has been a 1,000,000 acre loss of cropland in North Carolina from development and housing, and solar accounts for only 1% of that total.

Farming for the Future

Agricultural landowners earn greater income from leasing land to a solar developer than from traditional agricultural operations.

This income source allows the landowner the freedom to keep the land under family control for future generations and possibly eliminate the need to sell off land for more intrusive commercial development.

New Industry = New Jobs

For the third straight year, the solar workforce grew 20 percent in the U.S. and is projected to continue that trend with the addition of another 30,000 workers within the next 12 months.

Solar now employs more than twice the number of people than the coal industry in the United States. In North Carolina alone, the solar industry provides 6,457 full-time jobs.

Often those who might struggle to find temporary work in rural areas now have more access to good paying jobs, such as those in solar farm construction and operation.

Good Neighbors

Solar technologies offer a number of environmental benefits such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and less waste over fuel-based energy sources.

Solar farms do not make noise, emit any gases or release anything toxic into the environment. When the system is removed, a majority of the components can be recycled and the land returned to its original agricultural use.

Solar Makes Cents

Solar development provides:

1) a steady source of income for local landowners; 2) an improved tax base for the county; and 3) the delivery of clean renewable energy to the utility grid. Renewable energy is in high demand by utilities and corporations and attracts economic development to areas where it is available.

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