Solar energy farm eyeing Fremont area

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Duke Energy wants to double solar capacity in Carolinas

February 14, 2014


Duke Energy wants to double solar capacity in Carolinas


Rob Caldwell, who runs Duke Energy's renewable generation group, says the proposal would double Duke's solar capacity in the state.

John Downey, Staff Writer, Charlotte Business Journal

Duke Energy Corp. wants to contract with solar developers for up to 300 megawatts of new solar capacity in North Carolina by the end of 2015.

Duke (NYSE: DUK) is looking projects larger than five megawatts in the service areas for its Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress utilities. It issued a request for proposed contracts Friday.

The size is important to the state’s solar industry. Five-megawatt projects are already standard and frequently built here. Current regulations require utilities to pay their standard avoided costs under long-term contracts for power from projects that size.

Doubling capacity

The industry in the state has struggled to build larger projects, finding it difficult to negotiate contracts with Duke for them.

“This proposal will practically double our current solar capacity for customers in the Carolinas,” said Rob Caldwell, who is in charge of Duke's renewable-generation development. “It gives developers the opportunity to pursue projects for the long term, or to negotiate for Duke Energy to acquire ownership of the new facilities once they are operational.”

Duke will consider proposals to buy power from developers or to buy turnkey solar projects built by developers that Duke will operate.

Proposals are due by March 28. Duke expects to select proposals and complete negotiations by Oct. 1.

In the queue

The request for proposals is limited to planned projects that have already asked for connection to Duke’s transmission system.

Solar developers such as Chapel Hill's Strata Solar, Huntersville’s SunEnergy1 and Cornelius’ 02 Energies the state’s largest solar player, have such projects in the works. Strata has several 78-megawatt projects proposed and approved by state regulators.

“Our mission is to bring more renewable generation onto the Duke Energy system in the most cost-effective manner possible,” says Caldwell. “This RFP allows the company to take advantage of projects already in the planning stages.”

via Duke Energy wants to double solar capacity in Carolinas – Triangle Business Journal.