North Carolina regulators approve 80 MW solar plant

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North Carolina energy company McBride Energy Services has been granted permission to construct a $200 million, 80 MW solar PV plant near to the city of Concord in the U.S. state.

North Carolina’s Utilities Commission yesterday issued an order approving the proposal for the McBride Place Energy project, which is penciled in for commercial operation by the end of 2015.

Further details are sketchy at this stage. State law decrees that no solar farm cab be built until a power purchase agreement (PPA) with a utility has been signed, and it is understood that McBride Energy Services is currently in talks with a handful of potential utilities for the park’s solar energy.

Should the plant be completed before the end of next year it would be eligible for $36 million in state tax credits, as well as around $63 million in federal tax credits and depreciation allowances.

This installation would dwarf McBride’s previous forays into the world of PV. Its current largest solar farm in operation is a 2.5 MW project in Henderson County.

North Carolina’s solar landscape is currently the third-largest in the U.S. after California and Arizona, boasting more than 620 MW of installed capacity, according to data from GTM Research.

Analysts predict that the state should reach more than 2.6 GW of installed PV capacity by 2020, with private investment in the sector reaching $7.8 billion during that time, found a recent report by Pew Charitable Trust.