The future of renewable energy in Orange County is looking bright ever since the US Department of Energy recognized Chapel Hill and Carrboro for their receptiveness to solar power.

Both towns have been given bronze-level designations in the SolSmart program, which was created by the department to help communities expand solar energy development.

Designated communities are considered by the program to have satisfied national criteria for facilitating transitions to renewable energy sources and encouraging solar market growth.

Chapel Hill and Carrboro were acknowledged by the program for their permissive solar development regulations and partnerships with the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center.

Training workshops for local government officials on regulatory inspections for renewable energy sources are also being offered to local government officials by the center.

Businesses that focus on the installation and maintenance of solar panels are located in the area as well, with Strata Solar in Chapel Hill and Cypress Creek Renewables in Carrboro.

SolSmart is funded by the federal initiative known as SunShot, whose stated goal is to make the price of solar energy competitive with traditional forms of electricity by 2020.

Photo by Strata Solar