Panel installation begins on Washington DC universities' 52 MW solar project


An innovative solar project involving three universities in Washington, D.C., and a solar plant in North Carolina has begun taking shape after SunEnergy1 announced that it has begun installing JinkoSolar panels at the Duke Energy-owned site.

The 52 MW solar farm in eastern North Carolina, dubbed the Capital Partners Solar Project, is unique in that all solar power generated will be piped to three customers in nearby Washington, D.C., – the higher education establishments of George Washington University, American University and the George Washington University Hospital.

First conceived in June, the initial phase of the project will total 20 MW once complete. Located in Pasquotank County near Elizabeth City, commercial operation is penciled in for year-end, with the following two sites to be constructed next year.

Delivering all engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, SunEnergy1 has announced that it is “very proud” to be working on the project.

"It goes without saying how excited we are to be continuing our relationship with Duke Energy," said SunEnergy1 CEO Kenny Habul. "Elizabeth City is a great community to work with, and we’re proud to be providing construction jobs, locally purchasing goods and services, and increasing the county’s tax base as we build a first-rate solar facility."

JinkoSolar has supplied 92,000 of its UL-certified JKM300P-72 and JKM305P-72 solar panels, which boast a conversion efficiency of up to 16% and a 25-year warranty. "We are proud to have our panels powering such prominent establishments as George Washington University, American University and the George Washington University Hospital," said JinkoSolar U.S. general manager Nigel Cockroft. "We hope that sustainable energy continues to flourish in North Carolina and throughout the U.S."

For Duke Energy Renewables, the project represents its largest solar installation in North Carolina to date, and its 14th overall. The three universities in Washington, D.C., hope that a steady supply of solar power can held each establishment reach its target of carbon neutrality by 2025.

Under the terms of the project’s agreement, George Washington University will receive 86.6 million kWh of solar power, American University 30 million kWh, and the George Washington University Hospital 6.3 million kWh.