North Carolina gets nearly 5 percent of its electricity from solar panels. The state’s solar farms survived Hurricane Florence with little damage. Credit: Duke Energy Faced with Hurricane Florence’s powerful winds and record rainfall, North Carolina’s solar farms held up with only minimal damage while other parts of the electricity system failed, an outcome that solar advocates hope will help to steer the broader energy debate. North Carolina has more solar power than any state other than California, much of it built in the two years since Hurricane Matthew hit the region. Before last week, the state hadn’t seen how its growing solar developments—providing about 4.6 percent of the state’s electricity—would fare in the face of a hurricane. Florence provided a test of how the systems stand up to severe weather as renewable energy use increases, particularly solar, which is growing faster in the Southeast than any other other region. Inside the future of energy. When Florence made landfall on Sept. 14, it caused power outages across the region. As energy experts point out, the most vulnerable part of the system is not new at all: it’s the power lines and other equipment that transport electricity to customers. "What […]

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