Electric Cooperatives Work to Bring Renewable Energy to North Carolina

Raleigh, N.C. —GreenCo Solutions, Inc., a green cooperative owned by the majority of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, has partnered with QVC, one of the world’s largest multimedia retailers, to install a 1-megawatt solar energy facility at the QVC Rocky Mount, Inc distribution center in Rocky Mount, NC.

The QVC facility receives its electricity from the local cooperative, Edgecombe-Martin County EMC.   As a member of GreenCo Solutions Inc., the cooperative took advantage of that resource to help bring the QVC solar project from the drawing board to a completed facility.

GreenCo Solutions was formed earlier this year to focus on energy efficiency initiatives and renewable resources.  The member-owned green cooperative aggregates services related to green energy, allowing the member cooperatives to achieve efficiencies and economies of scale.

According to Bob McDuffie, CEO of Edgecombe-Martin County EMC, the QVC solar project, which began commercial operation in November, is an excellent example of the types of initiatives GreenCo Solutions was created to pursue.  “It began in our community with discussions between QVC and our cooperative.  Using our tradition of working together to achieve our goals, we conferred with GreenCo, who worked with all parties to bring the concept to reality.”

Through a 10-year agreement, NC Electric Membership Corporation, the power supply organization for the state’s electric cooperatives, will purchase the energy produced by the facility, returning it to the grid for use by North Carolina consumers. GreenCo Solutions will purchase the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from the project.

Other key players in the QVC venture included Southern Energy Management, which built the facility, and SunPower Corp., which developed the SunPower® Tracker technology, capable of capturing up to 25 percent more energy than fixed solar systems.

“Solar energy has promising potential for our state,” said Bob Goodson Chief Operating Officer of GreenCo Solutions.  “The QVC project exemplifies how private industry, local cooperatives, and GreenCo Solutions are working together to bring advanced solar technologies to the marketplace, resulting in an increase of clean energy for North Carolina’s consumers.”

Under the state’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) electric cooperatives must obtain up to 10 percent of their energy through renewable resources or energy efficiency measures by 2018.  GreenCo Solutions provides compliance reporting and tracking for member cooperatives related to the REPS.