North Carolina commission green lights two Duke Energy solar projects

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has given Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) approval to build 75 MW of new solar energy at two projects in Davie and Union counties.

  • The 60-MW Monroe Solar Facility on 2272 S. Rocky River Road near Monroe in Union County will be located on a 400-acre site. Strata Solar in Chapel Hill will design and build the project.
  • The 15.4-MW Mocksville Solar Facility in Davie County will use about 110 acres of land. The project will be located at 197 Crawford Road in Mocksville. Crowder Construction in Charlotte will serve as the project engineering, procurement and construction lead.

Both projects will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Carolinas and will help meet North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.

  • In January 2013, the commission had issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Rocky River Solar LLC for construction of a 40-MW (ac) solar photovoltaic facility to be located in Union County. In December 2015, First Solar Development LLC, successor by merger with Rocky River, and Duke Energy Carolinas filed for transfer of the certificate to Duke, which the commission approved on May 16. As part of their application, DEC and Rocky River requested that the certificate be amended from a 40-MW (ac) facility to a 59.4-MW (ac) facility.
  • In February 2015, the commission issued a certificate to Toprak LLC for construction of a 20-MW (ac) solar photovoltaic facility to be located in Davie County. In December 2015, Toprak and Duke Energy Carolinas requested that the commission approve the transfer of the certificate to DEC. DEC and Toprak also requested that the certificate be amended from a 20-MW (ac) facility to a 15.4-MW (ac) facility due to constructability constraints on the site layout. That is what the commission approved on May 16.

Duke Energy utilities continue to invest heavily in solar energy in North Carolina as part of its effort to deliver increasingly clean energy to customers. The company recently completed construction of around 140 MWs of capacity at four major solar facilities in the North Carolina counties of Bladen, Duplin, Onslow and Wilson. A project in Rowan County is awaiting NCUC approval.

Over the past eight years, Duke Energy, through its regulated and commercial businesses, has invested more than $4bn in wind and solar facilities in 13 states. The company plans to invest about $3bn in renewable energy over the next five years.

In 2015 alone, Duke Energy added 300 MW of solar energy capacity in North Carolina. In total, Duke Energy companies, both regulated and commercial, have installed about 450 MW of solar energy in the state, enough to power 85,000 average homes at peak production. Duke Energy companies have more than 35 solar facilities in the state.

“These projects are part of our planned expansion of solar in North Carolina,” said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources. “With the state third in the nation for installed solar power, we are committed to growing renewable energy in a sustainable way that benefits all customers,” Caldwell said.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.