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Top 10 solar list for 2013 includes two Duke Energy utilities

April 28, 2014

Top 10 solar list for 2013 includes two Duke Energy utilities

Duke Energy’s two Carolinas’ utilities made the Solar Electric Power Association’s  Top 10 list for new solar capacity added by utilities in 2013.
Duke Energy Progress ranked No. 5 in the nation, with 137 megawatts of new solar added to its grid last year. Duke Energy Carolinas squeaked in at No. 10, with 57.8 megawatts installed.

In the Carolinas, this is not power the company built itself. Rather, the list is based on solar installations built privately, with the power sold to the utilities. It is Duke Progress’ second time on the list. For 2012, it ranked No. 8, with 69.5 megawatts added. Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless says the difference between solar development between the two Carolinas utilities is not a matter of different policies. But in North Carolina, most of the new construction of solar farms has been in the eastern part of the state, where Duke Progress operates.

California dominates

This year’s list is dominated, as it usually is, by California. Three of the top four utilities on the list are based there. North Carolina is the only other state with more than one utility in the top 10.

Wheeless says Duke (NYSE:DUK) has no firm figures on how much additional power is likely to come on line this year. That will depend on when independent developers complete projects and put them in service. But he expects 2014 to be active. About 2,900 megawatts worth of proposed projects are in the queue for connection to the grid for the two Duke utilities.

Many of those projects are speculative solar farms that will never be built. But several of the state’s top developers — such as Strata Solar in Chapel Hill and FLS Energy in Asheville — anticipate building more projects this year than last.

S.C. legislation

And North Carolina’s 35% tax credit for solar construction projects is set to expire at the end of 2015, spurring development.
South Carolina’s legislature is working on a bill that would lay out new regulations for solar in that state, which is expected to spur development there. The S.C. Senate is expected to vote on that legislation this week.

Next year should also be a strong year for solar development in North Carolina. Duke has requested proposed contracts for 300 megawatts worth of solar to be built in it its North Carolina territory in 2015. It says it has received 900 megawatts worth of proposals and hopes to choose projects for power contracts or for purchase by its utilities by this fall.

via Top 10 solar list for 2013 includes two DUK utilities – Charlotte Business Journal.