SolarWorld Solar Farms Purchase Pushes Duke Energy PV Capacity Beyond 100 MW

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Duke Energy, the largest US electric power holding company, on April 10 announced it now owns more than 100 megawatts (MW) of solar-powered generation capacity. Duke Energy Renewables has acquired SolarWorld USA’s Highlander Solar 1 and 2 solar farms near Twentynine Palms, California, putting it over the 100 MW mark.

Highlander Solar 1 and 2 will be run as a single solar farm, collectively generating 21 MW of clean, renewable power, enough for more than 4,000 average homes per year, according to a Duke Energy press release. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Credit: SolarWorld Americas
Image Credit: SolarWorld Americas

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Duke Purchases Highlander Solar 1 And 2 Solar Farms

SolarWorld managed engineering, procurement, permitting and construction. Slated for completion in this year’s second quarter, commercial operation is expected shortly thereafter. More than 200 workers have been employed in building out the project, with most residing in surrounding communities, according to the press release.

Southern California Edison (SCE) will purchase electricity from Highlander Solar 1 and 2 as per the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

“Highlander will be the company’s largest commercial solar farm in the nation,” Duke Energy Renewables president Greg Wolf was quoted as saying. “It enlarges our footprint in a key U.S. renewables market while delivering affordable, zero-emission solar power to help the state’s customers meet their renewable energy goals.”

Originally named the Desert Star Solar Projects, 100,188 SolarWorld crystalline silicon Sunmodule solar panels manufactured in the company’s Hillsboro, Oregon manuacturing plant will be mounted on its Suntrac single-axis trackers on the Highlander Solar 1 and 2 project sites.

Added SolarWorld Americas president Kevin Kilkelly, “”This project will be an asset in the portfolio of Duke Energy, a nationally recognized leader in the field of clean-energy development. Its investment underscores our position as a premier developer of large-scale solar projects.”

Duke And Renewable Energy

Duke Energy has invested more than $2.5 billion since 2007 to build a presence in the rapidly growing US commercial solar and wind energy sectors. It now owns 15 solar farms in the US.

In addition to commercial and utility-scale solar power projects, Duke Energy is aiming to build a presence in the fast-growing market for rooftop solar power systems. Duke Energy Renewables is working on distributed solar energy projects with Integrys Energy Services and Smart Energy Capital.

The partners are contracting to install rooftop and smaller ground-mounted PV solar projects for commercial, government, and utility customers, which “allows renewable electricity to be generated close to where it is used, rather than at centralized power plants.” In the past year, they have installed rooftop and ground-mounted solar PV systems for customers in California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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