Duke seeks to procure an additional 700MW of solar in 2022


Duke Energy Carolinas has filed a proposal with the North Carolina Utilities Commission under which the utility is seeking bids this year 700MW of solar projects, in addition to the roughly 600MW of solar the company is already seeking through previously-announced procurement.

Duke shares that it is undertaking this additional procurement due to North Carolina’s recently-passed House Bill 951 (HB 951), a measure which formally adopted Governor Roy Cooper’s goal of 70% carbon emission reduction by 2030 into state law. Also outlined in the bill is the requirement that 55% of new solar generation under Duke’s Carbon Plan is to be supplied from solar energy facilities that are company-built. The remaining 45% of the total MW of any solar energy facilities procured under the Carbon Plan are to be supplied through the execution of power purchase agreements (PPAs) with other companies.

Just like the company’s earlier procurement, the 700MW proposed could be constructed in either North or South Carolina, though the company will likely prioritize development in North Carolina, in order to meet the requirements of HB 951. Additionally, all construction in either state will be done in those states’ Duke Energy Carolinas service territories, but not their Duke Energy Progress service territories.

Under the earlier solicitation, Duke’s utilities and commercial renewables division, Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, was allowed to win up to 30% of bids in that round, a figure that will hold if the new proposal is approved by regulators.

While Duke’s proposal is still subject to regulatory approval, a company spokesperson shared with pv magazine that a quick approval would mean that the company could create an open window for bids from May 31 through July 15. Winners could be announced later in early 2023, with projects possibly online in early 2026. This initial solar procurement will be the first of a series of annual solar procurements, with the capacity to be built under each subsequent procurement to be determined by the state regulators as part of approval of the Carbon Plan.

Even considering the vast capacity of solar that Duke has brought to the North Carolina grid, the two combined solicitations, assuming the proposal is approved, represent a roughly 30% increase in installed solar capacity.

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