After robust 2016, more solar projects coming

After robust 2016, more solar projects coming

Duke Energy expands renewable energy

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At a recent industry conference, a person with another utility company asked me, "So did Duke Energy make a new solar announcement today?"

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Engineer Kathleen Alexandridis reviews information on her tablet at the Dogwood Solar Site in North Carolina

There's some truth behind the comment. Duke Energy was plenty busy with solar projects in 2016, and you can expect more projects in 2017.

"Renewable energy is important to our customers, and Duke Energy is responding by developing and owning solar plants – and also by connecting other solar projects to our system," said Rob Caldwell, president of Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology.

Here's a recap of 2016 activity and the outlook for 2017:

  • In South Carolina, the company’s solar rebate program has paid nearly $12 million in rebates to customers. The rebates help with the upfront cost of installing solar panels, making the technology more accessible to the company's 730,000 customers in the state.
  • In Florida, the company announced its Suwannee Solar Facility that will produce 8.8 megawatts (MW) of carbon-free energy, enough to power about 1,700 average homes at peak production. The company expects to break ground in the spring with full operation by the end of 2017. Duke Energy Florida already owns and operates the Perry Solar Facility in Taylor County and the Osceola Solar Facility in Osceola County. Plus, two other projects in Orange County, Fla.
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    Solar technician Anthony Alston uses a FLIR thermal imaging camera on solar panels at the Dogwood Solar Site in North Carolina.
    In California, Duke Energy Renewables announced in late 2016 it had acquired three solar power projects from SunPower Corp. totaling 55 MW. With 10 projects in the state, California ranks as Duke Energy’s second-largest solar state.
  • In North Carolina, Duke Energy invested in 100 MW of solar capacity during the year, including plants in Davie, Hertford, Northampton, Perquimans and Wilson counties. Overall, Duke Energy has about 35 solar facilities in North Carolina, which represents the company’s top solar state.
  • Also in the state, the 60-MW solar facility in Union County will be online in early 2017. Duke Energy Carolinas also has a large request for new solar capacity in North Carolina that the company and third-party developers will be completing.
  • In Indiana, construction is complete on the 18-MW solar facility at the Crane Naval Station. The facility will help power the military base and the surrounding community.

Renewable energy projects

Duke Energy’s growing portfolio of renewable energy assets includes 20 wind projects and 60 solar facilities in operation in more than a dozen states, totaling more than 3,000 MW of generating capacity, enough to power more than a half-million homes.

 

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