The ongoing battle over renewable energy standards and solar energy continued Wednesday as a 35 percent state tax credit designed to energize the industry is set to expire at the end of the year.

For some, solar technology is a multi-billion-dollar industry. For others, including homeowners and small business owners, it is a way to save money each month.

Rep. Charles Jeter, R-Mecklenburg, helped pass a two-year extension of the tax credit and is fighting to keep it in the final version of the state budget.

“You cannot pull the rug out from under people,” he said. “We need to make sure that transition is fair and predictable as any business would want it to be. I think that’s what the House has done.”

Since the tax credits began in 2007, solar energy in North Carolina has skyrocketed. The state has the fourth largest capacity in the country.

Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, said the industry can stand on it’s own.

“Solar seems to have been the big winner in North Carolina,” he said.

Although the tax credits add up to nearly $125 million per year, Hager said the money is not going to the state.

“The end result has to be that whatever energy plan we come up with benefits everybody in the state, and it really is the attractor for new businesses,” he said.

The House’s version of the budget extends the tax credit for two years. It is now in the hands of the Senate.

WRAL’s parent company, Capitol Broadcasting Co., has a solar farm} and has benefited from solar tax credits.


Reporter: Kathryn Brown
Photographer: Terry Cantrell
Web Editor: Natalie McGugan