Unregulated Duke unit seeks North Carolina approval for 80-MW solar project

The Duke Energy Renewables NC Solar LLC unit of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) applied April 2 to the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity authorizing construction of an 80-MW (ac) solar facility in Currituck County, N.C.

The facility will be located at approximately 1384-1390 Caratoke Highway in Moyock in Currituck County. Duke Energy Renewables NC Solar, will be the owner of the facility and plans to enter into a site control agreement with Price Solar LLC, the entity that will be purchasing the property from Justice Farms of North Carolina LLC (the current owner of the site).

The solar farm will be a single-axis tracking, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic power plant consisting of approximately 367,213 solar PV modules and will utilize fifty-four 1.56 MW inverters set to 1.482 MW each. The facility is projected to come online in phases with the complete system online by Dec. 31, 2015.

The application noted: “The Applicant is in discussions to sell the output through a negotiated Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to [Dominion North Carolina Power] or to one or more retail customers in deregulated states that allow for such sales, or to sell the output in the PJM market.” Dominion North Carolina Power (DNCP) is the doing business as name in this state for Virginia Electric and Power, a unit of Dominion Resources (NYSE: D). The project would interconnect into the Dominion North Carolina Power system.

The application noted: “The Applicant will file for self-certification as a Qualifying Facility (QF) with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Applicant is seeking the benefits of 16 U.S.C. 824a-3 with the exception of the right to sell energy or capacity from its facility to DNCP. Applicant is aware that FERC entered an Order granting DNCP’s application to terminate its obligation to purchase from QFs with a net capacity in excess of 20 MW on July 17, 2008. Therefore, the Applicant is seeking only certain benefits of a QF, such as the right to interconnect and purchase certain services and the right to relief from regulatory burdens such as compliance with certain requirements of the Public Utility Holding Company Act.”

The service life of the equipment is expected to be a minimum of 20 years. The projected annual sales of the facility are 192,263,235 kWh.

The filing said: “The applicant is currently negotiating terms with SunEnergy1 to develop, design, and construct the project. SunEnergy1, LLC (SEl) develops, owns and operates solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities, including rooftop and ground-mount facilities. SE1 has developed more than 200 MW of solar PV. By 2016, SE1 anticipates developing as much as 100 MW of additional solar PV, approximately one-third of which will be owned and operated by SE1.”

The application added: “Duke Energy Renewable Services, LLC will operate the site after completion. Duke Energy Renewables, part of Duke Energy’s Commercial Businesses, is a leader in developing innovative wind and solar energy solutions for customers throughout the United States. Since 2007, Duke Energy Renewables has invested more than $2.5 billion to rapidly grow its portfolio of zero-emission generating assets.” 

The project contact is: Duke Energy Renewables NC Solar LLC, Attn: Brian Stallman, Vice President, 139 E. Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202, Phone: (513) 287-2026, Brian.Stallman@duke-energy.com.

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.