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Solar Power Plants In The Carolinas Stand Up To Hurricane Florence

By Kristin Hunt

Nearly two weeks ago, Hurricane Florence hit North and South Carolina with 83-foot waves and 120mph winds. At the peak of the storm’s devastation, more than 740,000 residents were without power. The number has since lowered to less than 5,000 — and solar energy was a big part of that recovery.

According to CBS, solar installations in North Carolina were back in operational mode just one day after Hurricane Florence. Duke Energy, a Charlotte-based solar utility, found that about half of its customers lost power at some point, but discovered no damage to its 40 solar sites. Likewise, Yes Solar Solutions, another North Carolina power provider, reported problems from just six out of 800 customers. Although solar sources make up a small fraction of North Carolina’s energy, some are now pointing to this resiliency as cause to expand the renewable power mix.

Their case is bolstered by the damage sustained at fossil fuel power sites. The picture was not so rosy for these fuel sources, which took heavy hits from the rising waters. CBS points to a dam breach at a retired coal-fired power plant outside Wilmington that dumped coal ash into an adjacent flowing river and other instances of coal ash pits flooding with leftover stormwater.