Last year Duke Energy added 300 megawatts of solar power in North Carolina. The company plans to keep adding more solar in 2016. It’s already announced 75 new megawatts of solar for 2016.
Thanks largely to the efforts of Duke Energy, North Carolina will likely have installed more solar energy than almost any state in 2015. California is leading the nation in installations. “Duke Energy's investments in the state have been instrumental in North Carolina ranking fourth in the nation cumulatively and No. 1 in the South for solar capacity,” the company said.
The energy company and utility has been investing heavily in solar in North Carolina and beyond. For instance, the company now buys roughly 1 gigawatt of solar power through power purchase agreements in the state. It’s already invested more than $4 billion in wind and solar and plans to invest $3 billion more in renewable energy in the next five years.
"Solar is helping to modernize our generation mix and better serve our customers' needs," said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources. "We plan to continue the momentum; we've already announced we will build an additional 75 megawatts in 2016."
For 2015 Duke Energy invested $500 million in solar power in its service territory, building out four utility-scale solar projects totaling 141 megawatts of solar power. That includes its first installation on a military base, the 13 megawatt solar farm at Camp Lejeune. In addition its Duke Energy Renewables business built more eight projects totaling more than 160 megawatts of solar power. The renewables unit invested $400 million in those projects, which included an 80 megawatt Conetoe facility, which the company said is the largest solar project brought on line east of the Mississippi. It also completed a 5-MW project in Tarboro on Dec. 31.
"With these projects, Duke Energy Renewables more than doubled its solar capacity in the state last year," said Greg Wolf, president, Duke Energy Commercial Portfolio. "We're proud to partner with communities throughout Eastern North Carolina to bring competitively priced solar energy and economic development to the region."
The company also announced that Google would be the first company to participate in the Green Source Rider program, which allows companies to purchase energy from a project through the utility without impacting the costs for other customers. Under that program Duke will purchase the power from Rutherford Farms’ 61-megawatt solar project, which will power Google's expanded data center in Caldwell County.Tweet