RALEIGH: City lauded for commitment to solar power - WNCN: News, Weather

Raleigh lauded for commitment to solar power

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A new report touts Raleigh for being at the forefront of solar energy and says the city ranks 15th in the country for solar projects installed per capita.

The analysis, titled “Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America’s Solar Energy Revolution” was prepared by the Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center

“Raleigh is one of America’s shining cities when it comes to solar power,” said Dave Rogers, field director with Environment North Carolina, “and it has the potential to shine even brighter.”

City Councilor Russ Stephenson, public health advocates, and area small businesses, joined Environment North Carolina to release the study at the N.C. State solar farm, which was built with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Raleigh's continued success in national quality-of-life rankings is directly related to our commitment to renewable energy sources and other sustainable growth investments,” said Stephenson. “These innovative, 21st century investments in our economy, environment and people will keep Raleigh healthy and competitive in the long run.”

The report pointed to benefits of solar energy, saying the state has 3,100 solar jobs and that solar, because it has no fuel costs, can protect against rising costs of fossil fuels.

“More solar power means less reliance on fossil fuels that pollute our environment and cause respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological illnesses, which is a significant public health burden,” added Gayatri Ankem, Raleigh Manager of Medical Advocates for Healthy Air. “Solar energy will keep our air clean, protect our water resources, and thus improve public health.”

The report documented publicly funded solar energy projects within city limits, such as the one at the N.C. State, as well as private installations like the one on top of the building that houses the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium.

“The sky’s the limit on solar energy. Raleigh is a great example of solar leadership,” said Rogers. “But, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential to capture this pollution-free energy source. By committing to bold goals and expanding on the good policies we’ve adopted, Raleigh can shine even brighter when it comes to solar power.”

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