Duke Energy Commits $500 Million to North Carolina Solar Power.
Duke Energy has announced 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 2014 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 percent 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:
At 65 MW, the Warsaw Solar Facility in Duplin County will be the largest PV plant east of the Mississippi River.
"We are very excited to be working with Duke Energy on this tremendous solar project," said Markus Wilhelm, chief executive officer of Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar. "Three years ago, we celebrated with Duke Energy at the completion of our first 5-megawatt solar farm in Cleveland County – and Strata recently passed the 325-megawatt mark with more than 65 farms generating power in the Southeast. We take a lot of pride in our work, and we are thrilled to be announcing this partnership between Strata Solar and Duke Energy on what will be the largest solar farm on the East Coast."
Duke Energy will purchase power from these new projects:
For projects Duke Energy will own, the company must obtain approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for the transfer of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the developing company to Duke Energy.
Duke Energy will then take ownership of the facilities and be responsible for building and having them in operation by the end of 2015. No NCUC approval is needed for the company's power-purchase agreements, which are part of Duke Energy's REPS compliance and are recovered through a rider mechanism. (9/15/14)
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