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Published on January 28th, 2016 | by Jake Richardson


300 MW Of Solar PV Added In North Carolina By Duke Energy

January 28th, 2016 by  

2015 was a good year for Duke Energy, as the company added 300 MW of PV solar in North Carolina. Four utility-scale projects were developed and a number of solar facilities were acquired. “Solar is helping to modernize our generation mix and better serve our customers’ needs. We plan to continue the momentum; we’ve already announced we will build an additional 75 megawatts in 2016,” explained Rob Caldwell, senior vice president of Distributed Energy Resources at Duke.

Graveyard_Fields_3One source said the 300 MW is enough to power 60,000 homes, but this figure might be high. The Solar Energy Industries Association says that number of homes which can be powered by one megawatt of solar power is about 164. If that is the case, the number of homes would be about 48,000. North Carolina is a solar power leader among US states, ranking in the top 5.

This is remarkable in the sense that it is also a regional leader, as the South in America has not exactly taken enthusiastically to solar power, except North Carolina, which is a state that one could say is a technology leader generally, due to the presence of the Research Triangle. This area includes Duke University, N.C. State, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

One might say the state of North Carolina is performing a sort of double duty, in that it is a national and regional leader in solar power. In the regional sense, it almost seems somewhat counter-cultural for it to move aggressively on solar power. North Carolina mostly has voted Republican in presidential elections, with 2008 being an exception.

Republican states generally don’t embrace solar or wind power, so North Carolina is something of an outlier and as such it deserves credit for being forward-looking. Climate change is a real thing and it doesn’t make any sense to continue to burn coal as if there are no consequences. Additionally, doing so creates tremendous amounts of air pollution which is harmful to humans. In a sense, coal-burning is not just an environmental issue, because it damages human health too.

Image Credit: TSimmons, Wiki Commons

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  • Brian

    Duke Energy only cares about maintaining it’s monopoly, and is fostering natural gas and nuclear power over solar power. Gov McCrory is a liar, who used his years at Duke as a form of nepotism to get elected. Both the Governor, and Duke are liars who could care less about clean renewable energy, and are pushing dangerous natural gas fracking.

  • neroden

    Duke Energy is openly hostile to anyone producing electricity other than Duke Energy. And they’ve been quite retrograde, supporting uneconomic coal and nuclear.

    It sounds like they’re still committed to being a monopoly, but maybe have figured out that renewables are the only way forward.

  • TatuSaloranta


    Next thing: get rid of “X is enough to power Y homes” as unit, pretty please.

    • neroden

      Yeah, it’s idiotic. Houses vary in electricity usage by up to a factor of 100. My parents house uses 10 times as much energy as mine does.

  • Kevin McKinney

    Both Georgia and South Carolina seem to be moving, albeit a bit cautiously, in the direction of more wind and solar. Georgia has built a small solar capacity, and has some industrial capacity, too. They’ve also started buying wind power from OK.

    SC has enacted some laws that are more solar-friendly, creating a markedly better environment for renewable energy. Here’s a couple of straws in the SC wind, so to speak:



    (To be sure, both states are also spending large amounts of money on new nuclear reactors.)

    • Bristolboy

      I think there are those within the Republican Party who now see renewable energy as not only beneficial for the environment, but beneficial financially too, so they now enthusiastically support it.

      • Kevin McKinney

        I think you are probably right about that. I hope it’s something that continues and accelerates–of course.

    • Calamity_Jean

      The behind schedule and over budget nuclear plants in Georgia and South Carolina may be the reason why those states are warming up to renewables. A wind farm only takes about three years from start to finish and a solar farm less than that, as opposed to a nuke that can easily be under construction for twice as long. The ones in SC and GA were started in 2013 and scheduled to finish in 2019 or 2020 but are unlikely to make the planned completion date. Nukes are also routinely over budget by double or more.

      • Kevin McKinney

        Plus, in Georgia we are pre-paying on our electric bills to finance the Vogtle reactors, which adds a definite irritation factor–though I suspect most folks don’t realize that that’s what’s happening.

        “The Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery Rider is a surcharge created by state legislative mandate, SB 31, passed in the 2010 General Assembly that became effective January 1, 2011, to recover
        financing costs associated with the construction of two new nuclear units at Plant Vogtle.”


        • Calamity_Jean

          “Plus, in Georgia we are pre-paying on our electric bills to finance the Vogtle reactors….”

          I’d call that adding insult to injury. If I were a Georgian, it would annoy the heck out of me.

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