Duke Energy connected 500 MW of solar in 2016

North Carolina rocketed to No. 3 last year on the Solar Energy Industries Association’s list of Top 10 Solar States – and Duke Energy is committed to making sure it doesn’t rest on its laurels.

In 2016, Duke Energy connected about 500MW of solar capacity to serve North Carolina’s solar customers – enough power to provide 105,000 homes with electricity during peak production.

“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 in North Carolina,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology.

Though 400 Mw of the capacity came from projects built by other developers, Duke Energy also invested in building 100 MW of its own solar capacity across its commercial and regulated businesses, including plants in Davie, Hertford, Northampton, Perquimans and Wilson counties.

Duke is investing in solar in part to bring it into compliance with North Carolina’s 2007 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. Under those guidelines, the utility must generate 12.5% of its retail sales by some combination of renewable energy or energy-efficiency programs by 2021.

In 2017, the utility plans to continue to feed its ever-growing solar appetite with around 400 MW of new capacity in its Duke Energy Carolinas territory in the Piedmont and western portions of the state. It will also begin operation at its 60-MW Monroe Solar Facility in Union County.