Wake County Invests in Clean Energy with Solar Panels for Nine Facilities

Aerial view of solar panels on the roofs of Oak City and South Wilmington Street centers
Wake County installed its first solar panels at the Oak City and South Wilmington Street centers in 2019.

Wake County is making strides toward its goal of achieving 100% Clean Energy by 2050.

Today, the Board of Commissioners voted to spend nearly $600,000 to add solar panels to the roofs of six libraries and three EMS stations around the county. The board awarded a contract to 8MSolar of Wake Forest for the construction, which will begin later this year and conclude next summer.

Altogether, the solar panels will generate 298,000 kilowatt-hours of energy each year and reduce Wake County’s emissions by the equivalent of more than 212 tons of carbon dioxide.

Once the nine new installations come online, Wake County will generate a total of more than 500 kilowatts of solar power across 12 facilities. That’s enough to power about 38 homes and offset the greenhouse gas emissions of 70 passenger cars each year.

“We’re taking action to combat climate change in Wake County by transitioning our facilities to clean and renewable energy,” Commissioner Sig Hutchinson said. “We hope the example we’re setting will inspire more businesses and residents to reduce their carbon footprints and ensure we leave a cleaner planet to our children.”

In 2018, the Wake County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution endorsing the goal of 100% Clean Energy by 2050. That same year, the board approved the county’s updated Energy Design and Management Guideline to require all new facilities to be solar ready.

Since then, Wake County began installing solar panels with pilot projects at two facilities that serve people experiencing homelessness, the South Wilmington Street Center and the Oak City Multi-Services Center. Those facilities now generate 138 kilowatts of power, and the projects gave staff experience in the design, construction and maintenance of solar arrays.

In 2020, the Wendell Falls Public Safety building became Wake County’s first facility to open with solar panels built into its original design. It generates 30 kilowatts of power.

For the latest expansion, staff chose nine facilities based on the ages of their roofs, the buildings’ overall condition, suitability and their capacity for solar panels. They are:

  • East Regional Library;
  • Middle Creek Community Library;
  • Morrisville Community Library;
  • Northeast Regional Library;
  • Olivia Raney Local History Library;
  • Zebulon Community Library;
  • EMS Garner;
  • Wake-New Hope EMS Station; and
  • Wendell Main EMS Station.
Press Release