Duke Energy adds 30 MW to its solar portfolio


NC-based U.S. utility Duke Energy announced yesterday that it now owns and operates 30 solar facilities representing more than 300 MW in North Carolina.

The company has recently acquired six new facilities, 5 MW each, in Eastern North Carolina from Community Energy. Five of the projects are already in service, with the sixth one coming into operation this month. Combined, the six plants are expected to generate enough electricity to power about 6,000 homes.

"Last year, our commercial and regulated businesses added 300 MW of solar power in North Carolina, and these projects continue the momentum of renewable energy growth in the state," said Duke Energy Commercial Portfolio president Greg Wolf.

All six solar projects have been constructed by Gehrlicher Solar America Co. In total, six PV plants are comprised of about 135,000 solar modules. The electricity generated by the solar farms is being sold to Dominion NC Power utility under 15-year agreements.

Duke Energy is well known for rapidly growing its solar portfolio. Last week, the company increased its renewable energy target by 33% to 8 GW by 2020. The utility has invested more than US$4 billion in renewable energy and plans to invest about $3 billion over the next five years.

In total, Duke Energy companies, both regulated and commercial, have installed about 450 MW of solar projects, enough to power about 85,000 average homes. Earlier this month, the utility inaugurated the Internet’s favorite solar farm – 5 MW Mickey Mouse-shaped PV plant in Florida.