CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Half the solar in the Southeast is connected to Duke Energy's grid. Right now there are 14 projects slated to keep the Carolinas moving forward when it comes to solar energy. 

A new report released by Environment America backs the efforts in and around the state, showing how local policies are pushing solar cities forward. 

"When you put it all together North Carolina and Duke Energy have a pretty good story with solar," said Randy Wheeless, a spokesperson with Duke Energy. 

So far, they have connected more than 3,000 megawatts of solar energy, which could power almost a half-million homes at peak times. Duke Energy now owns and operates 40 facilities across the state, and more than 11,000 customers have solar panels.

NBC Charlotte's Rachel Lundberg talked with Wheeless about the Shining Cities report, and what the future looks like for solar initiatives in North and South Carolina.  

The report put the Queen City at 28th in the country, while the state as a whole just trails behind California. Surrounding cities outrank the Queen City when it comes to producing solar energy, mostly because the majority of the solar success is in rural, not urban, areas.

"I think what you won't see in the future is a big solar farm in Mecklenburg County because land and cheap just don't go together, so you're going to see them in Gaston County or Cabarrus County, or somewhere like that, but they will be near Charlotte," Wheeless explained. 

For more information on solar power in the Carolina's, click here

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