Duke works with the Navy and Marines to land North Carolina solar project

A partnership between Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps will lead to a 13-MW (ac) solar facility being built at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Onslow County, N.C.

The facility will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Progress (DEP) and is expected online in 2015, said Duke in a Jan. 22 announcement. It will help Duke Energy further its commitment to renewable energy, diversify its energy mix and meet the N.C. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.

“This project strengthens Duke Energy’s commitment to bring more solar power to our customers, while advancing the Department of the Navy’s (DON) interest in installing more renewable energy at military bases around the U.S.,” said Duke Energy’s Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources.

Covering 80 acres, the 13-MW solar facility (or 17 MW dc) will connect to the electric grid at a DEP-owned substation on military property. The power will be available to DEP customers. Camp Lejeune will continue to purchase power from DEP.

“Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus set an aggressive but critical goal for the DON to produce or procure one gigawatt of renewable energy by the end of 2015,” said Robert M. Griffin, executive director of the Navy’s Renewable Energy Program Office. “Through an effective partnership with DEP, and once both parties sign the lease agreement, the project at Camp Lejeune will be another opportunity to bring renewable energy online, providing greater resource availability, and diversity for Camp Lejeune and the surrounding community.”

Crowder Construction Services, based in Charlotte, N.C., will be the engineering, procurement and construction contractor. The project will use monocrystalline solar panels supplied by SolarWorld Americas, based in Oregon. General Electric‘s Power Conversion business will supply its Brilliance 2-stage Ultra tracking inverters to be built out of its Pittsburgh facility.

To proceed, Duke Energy must obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

Currently, Duke Energy purchases about 500 MW of solar capacity for its North Carolina customers. In December 2014, Duke Energy received regulatory approval for a $500m expansion of solar energy for its customers – including three facilities the company will own and operate, totaling 128 MW. The company will also purchase 150 MW from five other large-scale solar facilities.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.