Duke Energy made a $500 million commitment to a major expansion of solar power in North Carolina.
This culminates the company’s request for proposals (RFP) issued in February for new solar capacity. It will help Duke Energy further its commitment to renewable energy, diversify its energy portfolio and meet North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). It also provides customers greater access to renewable energy in a cost-effective manner.
The company will acquire and construct three solar facilities — totaling 128 megawatts (MW) of capacity — including the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) facility east of the Mississippi River. The three facilities will be located in Bladen, Duplin and Wilson counties.
Duke Energy also signed power-purchase agreements with five new solar projects in the state, representing 150 MW of capacity. Together, the eight projects will have a capacity of 278 MW. The $500 million commitment includes the investment in the three facilities and the value of the five long-term power-purchase contracts.
“This is Duke Energy’s largest single announcement for solar power and represents a 60% increase in the amount of solar power for our North Carolina customers,” said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources. “We are bringing large amounts of renewable energy onto our system in the most cost-effective way possible.”
Duke Energy will own the following projects:
- 65 MW: Warsaw Solar Facility, Duplin County (developed by Strata Solar, No. 6 on Solar Power World’s Top 400 Contractors List).
- 40 MW: Elm City Solar Facility, Wilson County (developed by HelioSage Energy)
- 23 MW: Fayetteville Solar Facility, Bladen County, near Cumberland County line (developed by Tangent Energy Solutions)
At 65 MW, the Warsaw Solar Facility in Duplin County will be the largest PV plant east of the Mississippi River.
Duke Energy will purchase power from these new projects:
- 48 MW – Bladen County (developed by Innovative Solar Systems)
- 48 MW – Richmond County (developed by FLS Energy, No. 30 on Solar Power World’s Top 400 Contractors List)
- 20 MW – Scotland County (developed by Birdseye Renewable Energy)
- 19 MW – Cleveland County (developed by Birdseye Renewable Energy)
- 15 MW – Beaufort County (developed by Element Power US)
In addition to these five power-purchase agreements, Duke Energy has signed 33 other agreements in North Carolina in 2014 for projects totaling 109 MW of capacity.