Duke connects 500 MW of solar in 2017

If it feels like Duke Energy is dominating the (non-Section 201 tariff) solar news the past two weeks, it’s because they seem to be.

After announcing plans to invest $62 million in a solar rebate program, as well as community solar and green tariff programs, the power giant announced today that it connected 500 MW of solar to its grid in 2017.

Duke may not be responsible for North Carolina’s solar boom, which brought it to the No. 2 state behind only California, but has certainly worked to get ahead of a market driven by PURPA and state incentives. Last year’s additions bring the utility’s total multi-state solar portfolio to 2.5 GW, according to the company. In North Carolina, the company has 550 MW in operation.

“Even better is we expect a lot more growth over the next few years,” noted Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology.

Duke plans to add 3 GW of solar over the next few years, which it says is largely the result of North Carolina House Bill 589, or the Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina law. The recent compromise legislation, enacted last summer, changed key details of implementation of the Public Utilities Regulatory Power Act of 1978. was enacted in summer 2017.

Duke Energy connected the 60 MW Monroe Solar facility – one of the state’s largest – last year.

Later this year, the company will issue requests for proposals to build 600 MW of new capacity for Duke directly or for IPPs to build.