What is green power? +

Green power is electricity generated from renewable energy sources, such as the sun, wind, water, and organic matter. These resources are replenished by nature and are a cleaner source of energy.

Where does our power come from today? +

North Carolina’s power comes primarily from fossil fuels. However, only 24% of the electricity comes from coal. Around 31% comes from nuclear power, 32% comes from natural gas, and the remainder comes from hydroelectric and other renewable sources.

Why is renewable energy important? +

Fossil fuels account for about half of North Carolina’s current power generation. These resources are limited in supply, and their consumption produces pollution that harms our environment and human health. Renewable energy is available in abundance and is much cleaner, resulting in healthier air and water as well as a more stable energy supply.

What is a REC? +

A renewable energy certificate (REC), or renewable energy credit, is created for each megawatt-hour (MWh) or 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of “green” electricity generated from a renewable energy source. These green attributes represent the added value and environmental benefits from the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Our renewable energy blocks are offered in 125 kWh portions (= 0.125 MWh or RECs).

What is a carbon offset? +

carbon offset is created by a project that mitigates carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent (greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane). Carbon offsets have a monetary value and can be bought and sold. Our carbon offset projects can be in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia. We have adopted nine quality criteria for offsets to ensure that contributors are supporting projects that make a difference and would not otherwise be developed. Projects are certified by a third party that provides accurate and transparent measurement, verification, and tracking of greenhouse gas reductions and their inventories. Types of carbon offset projects include methane collection and combustion from farm animals, landfills, or other industrial waste, and forestry projects (reforestation and avoiding deforestation).

What are greenhouse gases? +

Greenhouse gases are substances occurring naturally and from human activities that trap heat in the atmosphere. Some examples are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Why is mitigating greenhouse gases important? +

According to the 2014 US Climate Action Report, average greenhouse gas emissions between 2009-2011 fell to their lowest level for any three year period since 1994-1996 due to contributions from both economic factors and policy changes. Since 2005, U.S. emissions have fallen 6.5% and have a goal to reduce levels by another 17% by 2020. However, the warmest year on record in the contiguous United States was in 2012. Between 2005 and 2011, carbon dioxide emissions decreased 1.4% and emissions from transportation dropped by 8%, attributed to increased fuel efficiency as well as high fuel prices and lower demand for passenger transportation.

Why are greenhouse gases harmful? +

Global warming, climate change, ozone depletion, sea level rise, and biodiversity are all affected directly or indirectly by greenhouse gases trapping heat. A number of human activities and industrial processes produce greenhouse gases that are harmful to the environment.


How does NC GreenPower work? +

NC GreenPower is an independent, nonprofit program that uses voluntary contributions to encourage the development of electricity generated from renewable energy sources and mitigate greenhouse gases. Individuals may contribute as little as $4 per month, which will supply 125 kWh of renewable energy to the electric grid in North Carolina and support the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) demonstration projects at North Carolina K-12 schools. Alternatively, $4 can be contributed to fund the mitigation of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent.

How did NC GreenPower get started? +

For more than two years, a committee representing consumers, electric utilities, the environmental community, technology suppliers, various state agencies, and Advanced Energy worked to create a statewide program that would add more renewable energy to North Carolina’s power supply. In January 2003, the North Carolina Utilities Commission approved the program plan for NC GreenPower.

How is NC GreenPower administered? +

NC GreenPower is administered by Advanced Energy, an independent, nonprofit, Raleigh-based corporation with 40 years of experience working with renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric utilities. Advanced Energy formed NC GreenPower as a separate nonprofit entity that is governed by a board of directors. The board has representation from consumers, state government, technology groups, environmental advocacy groups, and electric utilities.

Are other states developing green power programs? How is NC GreenPower different? +

North Carolina was the first state to develop a statewide, multi-utility plan for a green power pricing program. Other states have programs developed by individual utilities. North Carolina was determined to take a careful and thoughtful approach to develop a program that would be most successful.

Signing Up

How can I help? +

You can help protect the environment and support our Solar+ Schools program by contributing to NC GreenPower. You may contribute as much as you like in increments of $4. For renewable energy, $4 will add 125 kWh of renewable energy to the electric grid and support the installation of solar PV demonstration projects at North Carolina K-12 schools. For carbon offset, $4 mitigates 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent. Simply sign up to be a contributor through your electric utility. For your convenience, the contribution you specify will be added to your monthly electric bill, and the utility will forward all contributions to us. You can also donate directly to us using your credit card on our website.

If you are interested in contributing exclusively to our Solar+ Schools program, you can choose a school to support at our fundraising website: My.NCGreenPower.org.

Direct contributions are also accepted. Make checks payable to NC GreenPower and mail to:

NC GreenPower
ATTN: Contributions
909 Capability Drive, Suite 2100
Raleigh, NC 27606-3870

Are there other ways to participate? +

Gift cards: We offer a gift card program that allows purchasers to buy renewable energy and support a school or buy carbon offsets in honor or memory of someone special. Gift cards are a great way to celebrate a birthday, holiday, or event, or to send a personalized message or thank you. Recipients receive a card with your message and the environmental benefits of the gift.

Event offsets: Making your events green powered is another way to support the program. Organizers can offset the electrical usage and emissions of their event with an equivalent purchase of renewable energy. We also offer carbon offsets to negate the impact of vehicle or airplane travel. Purchasers will receive a certificate to display designating their contribution. Green powered events keep with your organization’s environmental initiatives and send a powerful message to attendees that every activity has a cost, and conservation can occur at any level.

Where does my contribution go? +

Your contribution will go directly to encourage the development of more renewable energy sources in North Carolina. Your carbon offset contribution will support a project that is mitigating carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent. All participating electric utilities have volunteered to collect their customers’ contributions and send the entire contribution to us. That saves us the cost of administrative fees, which is a big help for a nonprofit like ours.

How does my contribution work? +

For every $4 contributed to the program for green power, 125 kWh of renewable energy will be purchased from a generator located in North Carolina. Your contribution will also support the installation of solar PV demonstration projects at North Carolina K-12 schools. The money contributed will be paid to the independent producers (not utilities) supplying green power. The payment is a premium, over and above the payment they receive from their local utility for power added to the grid. The purpose of the payment is to offset generation costs and help make these projects more economically feasible. This is particularly necessary for the school solar PV systems, because as nonprofit institutions, schools cannot take advantage of state and federal tax credits to reduce upfront costs. By helping these projects survive, we allow more renewable energy to be added to our power supply and displace generation that would have been required from traditional, less environmentally friendly resources. More renewable energy generation means a better environment for all North Carolinians.

For every $4 contributed to a carbon offset, 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent will be mitigated from a mitigator located in the North Carolina/South Carolina/Virginia area.

Is my contribution tax-deductible? +

Because we are a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, your donation is federally deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Consult your tax professional for more information.

Does NC GreenPower keep part of my contribution? What other funds are used? +

We retain 25% of all contributions to pay for program costs. We will also reserve 10% to help support education and outreach. That translates to $3 out of every $4 being used to support the community and local renewable energy generators or carbon offset mitigators. This amount is standard in many green power programs across the nation and is necessary to support outreach and educational activities. Additional funds are derived from contributions, utility participation, and grants for specific program activities.

What if I change my mind about contributing to NC GreenPower? +

While we do not refund prior contributions, you may discontinue your contributions at any time. If you are billed monthly through your utility, you will need to contact them directly to have the billing removed.

Is there another way to think about the renewable energy that is added to the grid with each contribution? +

Over a full year, a $4 monthly donation will support 1,500 kWh of green power, which is more than five weeks’ worth of traditional residential power usage put back on the grid from renewable resources.

What does mitigating 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent accomplish? +

The average driver puts 15,000 miles on their vehicle each year. For a mid-size car, that equates to emitting about 12,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. Larger vehicles release about 20,000 pounds. Over a year, just one or two blocks of carbon offset per month can balance the negative impact of emissions from driving a vehicle.

Can $4 really make a difference? +

Yes! Just one block of 125 kWh of renewable energy, priced at $4 per month and subscribed each month for a year, is equivalent to planting around 240 trees. Millions of dollars annually leave North Carolina’s economy to purchase fossil fuel resources from other states for electricity production.

Just one block of carbon offset, or 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent, priced at $4 per month and subscribed each month for a year, can negate the carbon dioxide generated from a mid-size car over a year, or about 15,000 miles. That’s the environmental equivalent of planting 923 trees!

Can businesses contribute to NC GreenPower? +

Absolutely. We invite any North Carolina business to help us protect the environment while increasing our supply of renewable energy and cleaner air. Large Volume users may contribute a minimum of $100 per month toward renewable energy at $2.50 per block. Carbon offsets are available for $4 per block. Small to mid-size businesses can also contribute at $4 per block of renewable energy or carbon offsets. Simply contact your electric utility representative to sign up. We also welcome corporate sponsors at all levels. For more information, call 919-857-9000 / 866-533-NCGP (6247) or email us.

Customer Feedback

Are there any updates for current participants? What’s going on with the program? +

To limit costs and resource consumption, we keep customer mailings to a minimum. But those interested in staying up to date with us may do so through our newsletter, which contains program developments as well as news and issues that interest participants. Subscribe to the newsletter online to have updates sent to you via email.

How much of our energy supply comes from renewable resources? +

Excluding large-scale hydroelectric power, about 9% of our current power supply comes from renewable resources. Despite the small percentage, that number is continuing to grow through the participation of our subscribers. Currently, our monthly contributions support just over 7 million kWh per year, produced by our generators and added to the power grid.


Where will the renewable energy come from? +

Electricity from renewable energy is typically generated by small local generators. As with any new undertaking, converting natural resources such as solar PV power and wind into electric energy initially costs more than traditional energy sources. We are designed to encourage the development and production of more green energy by growing the availability of green power sources.

What are the resources used to supply the program? +

We are working to add renewable energy to the state’s power supply from a variety of resources. Previously, we accepted generation for our $4 product (what most residential consumers purchase) from solar PV, wind, landfill methane and biomass methane resources put into service after January 1, 1997. Due to evolving market changes that will affect our program, our board of directors decided to terminate the small solar generator program. Thus, new applications for small solar PV are not being accepted at this time.

For Large Volume purchasers (referred to as Clean Energy Supporters), a slightly different mix is provided, including all of the resources of the $4 product, as well as small hydroelectric power and clean wood waste. The Large Volume product also permits resources put into service prior to 1997 in order to help maintain existing supplies of renewable energy. The Large Volume product is priced at $2.50 per 250 kWh and is available to purchasers of 40 blocks or more per month.

I am interested in putting solar (or wind) on my home. Where can I find information about that? +

If you are interested in wind technologies, view these “Become a Generator” overview pages. For more detailed information on solar, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center provides excellent resources for homeowners wishing to learn about renewable energy technologies for the home. Visit their website or call 919-515-3480 for information about interconnection and other issues.

Does NC GreenPower provide funds for equipment and technologies? +

Other than for our Solar+ Schools program, we do not provide loans, grants, or any other financial subsidy toward the purchase of renewable energy technologies. We only provide financial premiums for energy added to the grid by qualified wind generators. Larger solar projects over 5 kW may submit a competitive bid here.

Are there financial incentives available to help offset the purchase of equipment? +

Yes. North Carolina offers very attractive financial incentives for individuals and organizations interested in purchasing and installing renewable energy technologies. There are also federal incentives available as well as a number of lenders offering energy efficient mortgages that can assist in offsetting the initial costs of equipment. For a complete listing of financial incentives, visit the DSIRE website (maintained by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center).

What projects are eligible for the NC GreenPower generator program? +

We are currently accepting applications for wind systems. Larger solar projects over 5 kW may submit a competitive bid here.

What are my interconnection options for being a generator? +

You have the option of setting up a Power Purchase Agreement with your local utility that can be either “Sell All,” “Sell Excess,” or “Net Metering.” With all three options, you are tied to the local utility and sell electricity to them when produced and use it as needed. There are charges for the meter whenever you connect to the grid, and these vary by utility. We cannot accept net metered projects.

Sell All: You sell all of the electricity to the utility. You can receive an incentive for the “green” part of this electricity, called a renewable energy credit/certificate or REC.

Sell Excess: You use the energy in your home first, and only sell after your loads are met. You receive an incentive for what you sell.

Net Metering: There may be special rules that apply based on your utility. Again, you can sell electricity to the utility, and RECs to another organization, if you are producing excess. However, we do not support net metered renewable energy.

How long can I receive an incentive from NC GreenPower? +

Our agreements are for 5 years. As an organization dependent on volunteer contributions, we do not offer contract guarantees.

What happens when my 5-year agreement expires? +

Generation agreements for small wind projects are for one 5-year term at a fixed premium. Agreements are available for a total of 5 years per address and only for the initial participant.

Large wind and other accepted generators that wish to continue their relationship with us can re-bid their projects at the expiration of their initial 5-year agreement when a request for proposals (RFP) is issued. They can be bid in for the brokered bid product without an RFP being issued.

For additional information, view these “Become a Generator” overview pages. For more detailed information, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center provides excellent resources for homeowners wishing to learn about renewable energy technologies for the home. Visit their website or call 919-515-3480 for information about interconnection and other issues.

Solar Schools

Where is the training held for the teachers from each awarded school, and how long does it last? +

The curriculum training is held at a site that is mutually convenient for all schools receiving grant awards, so its location will depend on who is awarded. The training is a full day, and food/refreshments and teacher materials are provided.

There are a couple of places in the application that ask about having staff that could be trained to provide operations and maintenance (O&M) of the solar array and monitoring equipment. Are you seeking teachers and/or custodial staff for this maintenance, or is a licensed electrician also needed at the training? What does the system maintenance involve? +

We do not require technical staff to attend our O&M training because O&M for solar PV is fairly easy. We need at least a few people at your school who are capable of simple maintenance to:

  • Check the system on a regular basis to ensure the components are plugged in and sending data through the IT channels
  • Keep the solar modules free of debris and unshaded

In other words, we need people to make sure the system is in good operating order. For curriculum training, we do require that teachers attend, but O&M can be handled by anyone at the school as long as the system is checked often.

Can you provide any guidance/recommendations on the maximum recommended distance from the proposed installation site to the nearest electrical meter? +

For purposes of the application, we are looking for each school to have given some thought to a prominent location and its proximity to an electrical connection. We prefer the installation be within 100 feet of an electrical panel to keep expenses down, though each site will differ. Our engineer will assist the selected schools with narrowing down their options once on-site.

If our school was selected for your grant, would your organization provide contractors to install the panels or would we need to find a contractor who would do this for us? +

Our staff will manage all aspects of the solar construction process. Once an installer begins work at your school, they will work with the school facilities staff directly; however, we will stay in the loop to manage the project until it is fully completed, inspected, and owned by the school.

What is the actual size and height of the solar array? +

While the layout of the array may differ depending on roof size and shape, it will consist of 46, 83-inch by 41-inch PV modules. In a two rows of 23 modules configuration, the array will be roughly 78 feet by 14 feet. The inverter, disconnect, and other ground mounted equipment will cover a 5-foot square of wall space.

How will my school see their solar data? Where can I see examples of the production data from other schools? +

Data from your school’s solar array is available via the internet and may be displayed on any computer, display monitor, phone or any smart device with internet capabilities. Visit our website to find links to each school’s public portal page: (currently 2015-2022 schools are showing live data) https://www.ncgreenpower.org/solar-schools

Carbon Offsets

What are greenhouse gases and how are they created? +

Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. They are created naturally and from human activity. Types of greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gases.

What are carbon offsets? +

A carbon offset is created by a project that mitigates carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide equivalent (greenhouse gas emissions). Carbon offsets have a monetary value and can be bought and sold.

Why should I support carbon offset projects? +

Carbon offset projects improve regional air quality and the environment. They mitigate harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change while supporting jobs and the economy.

Where do carbon offset producers come from? +

Our carbon offset projects can be in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia. Since the inception of our Carbon Offset offering in 2008, donations have supported both North Carolina and South Carolina landfills, and North Carolina hog farm projects.

What types of projects will be used to supply the carbon offset product? +

In addition to other resources, we will take the following types of producers into consideration: Forestry Projects – reforestation and avoiding deforestation; Methane Collection and Combustion – from farm animals, landfills, or other industrial waste.

How are suppliers selected? +

To make sure that we acquire only reputable and certifiable carbon offsets, we have adopted nine quality criteria for offsets (listed below). This ensures that our contributors are supporting projects that make a difference and would not otherwise be developed. Projects are certified by a third party that provides accurate and transparent measurement, verification, and tracking of greenhouse gas reductions and their inventories. More detailed information on each of the criteria is available on our Carbon Offset RFP.

  • No RECs as carbon offsets
  • Additionality
  • Accurate Quantification
  • Clarity on Permanence
  • Appropriate Timeline
  • Demonstration of Ownership
  • Serialization and Tracking
  • Verified and Verifiable
  • Net Positive Impact