Principal Solar plans $173m solar project in North Carolina

Principal Solar Inc. (PSI) said Feb. 4 that it will build the largest solar facility east of the Rockies, to be located in Hope Mills, N.C., with a capacity of 78.5 MW (ac).

Total investment in the project is expected to be approximately $173m. Duke Energy Progress has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy energy from the project, Principal Solar said.

“This project launches Principal Solar as a leader in the solar utility sector, meeting the growing demand for zero-emission, cost efficient energy,” said Michael Gorton, chairman and CEO of PSI. “This high-quality project has a stable source of long-term revenue, and represents a major step forward for the U.S. solar industry. Principal Solar remains focused on rapid growth via the acquisition of shovel-ready solar projects, drawing on our industry expertise to be a long-term and repeat business partner for both solar project developers and traditional utilities.”

The Principal Solar team has more than 200 years of cumulative energy experience with leading utilities such as TXU Energy. Chief Executive Michael Gorton has significant energy industry expertise, and has founded successful businesses in healthcare, IT and telecommunications. The company said its Board of Directors includes established energy and industry executives such as Brenda Jackson, former Chief Customer Officer of Oncor, and Garrett Boone, founder of the Container Store.

PSI said it has acquired the right to develop the project from Innovative Solar Systems LLC of Asheville, North Carolina. The acquisition of the project is expected to close no later than June 3, 2015, with construction to be completed in early 2016.

Principal Solar is a publicly-traded solar power company executing a unique roll-up strategy to create a distributed solar utility. PSI concentrates its resources on the acquisition, finance, development and management of solar power generating facilities.

Innovative Solar Systems in recent months has gotten a number of approvals from the North Carolina Utilities Commission for certificates of public convenience and necessity on large solar projects.

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.