Growth in Renewable Energy in North Carolina

Last Updated:
Fri, 2014-08-01 09:49

As states continue to strengthen economic growth in the renewable energy industry, the number of green jobs continues to rise. The recent Q3 green jobs report demonstrates the economic vitality of several states dedicated to job growth in renewable energy. Although the number of green jobs declined in the third quarter of the year, the top performing states consistently remain the most highly populated: California, New York, and Texas. However, North Carolina, which is often overlooked as a state promoting economic growth in renewable energy, consistently ranks within the top 10. Given Everblue’s location in the state, it is important to underline its economic performance.

An internal census conducted by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) found that clean energy is a driving force to the state’s economy, contributing over $3.7 billion in revenue and more than 15,200 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs directly related to activities in clean energy. The 2012 census provides insight into over 1,000 North Carolina businesses that are involved in renewable energy, energy efficiency, high performance building, smart grid technology, and electric activities. Currently, North Carolina is home to more than 2,100 energy-efficient commercial buildings, 38,000 ENERGY STAR homes, and more than 3,000 planned or installed renewable energy systems. The state continues to rank nationally as a state dedicated to renewable energy, despite several internal challenges including political polarization, limited financial resources, and policy and market uncertainty.

“Despite our state’s on-going high unemployment and tough economic times, North Carolina’s clean energy industry continues to grow and add new jobs and investments in every region,” said Ivan Urlaub, executive director of NCSEA. “North Carolina is distinctly positioned as a clean energy leader in the Southeast, but maintaining this leadership role – and becoming a national and global leader – will require additional policy and market advancements; otherwise, we’ll be left behind as other U.S. states step up and compete for the lead.”

The majority of North Carolina’s clean energy sector employment focus on energy efficiency, which is often considered the least-cost resource by groups such as the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Jobs related to energy efficiency demonstrate the strongest economic growth, comprising over 7,200 full-time positions statewide. Dedicated energy-efficient home building projects and strong state utility programs such as Duke Energy’s Save-A-Watt Initiative continue to act as driving forces for state economic growth in renewable energy. “North Carolina is, as far as the rest of the country goes, a leader or progressive state from the standpoint of producing green and ENERGY STAR homes,” said one responding homebuilder in this year’s census. “There’s a lot of acknowledgment of that in the national professional association for home builders.” Additionally, strong energy efficient areas including solar, smart grid, and biomass, contribute over 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs each, with additional major employment from wind, energy storage, and geothermal sectors.

Overall, North Carolina is a strong proponent of economic growth in the renewable energy industry, continuing to drive both innovation and green jobs forward. Everblue recognizes the advancements made in green job growth both in the state and across the nation, and continues to provide the highest quality education for individuals looking to advance their careers. For more information on Everblue’s courses and career paths, please contact us at 800-460-2575 or email us at

By Peter J. Bock

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