- Duke Energy announced on Monday it is committing $500 million to solar energy in North Carolina.
- As part of the commitment, Duke said it will buy three utility-scale solar projects totaling 128 megawatts of capacity.
- Duke said it has also signed five power purchasing agreements (PPA) with solar developers totaling 150 megawatts of capacity.
Duke Energy's big solar deal will help the utility meet North Carolina's 6%-by-2015 renewable energy standard.
The solar industry in the state is thriving, with North Carolina ranking fourth nationally in terms of installed capacity at 627 megawatts. Duke already has contracts for 470 megawatts of solar capacity in the state and has signed contracts totaling another 109 megawatts. Duke owns another 10 megawatts of solar.
Duke did not disclose the terms of the deals, only saying that the three solar projects it is buying will cost approximately $250 million. Among the new projects, perhaps the most notable is a 65 megawatt solar farm being built by Strata Solar, which Duke Energy claims will be the largest solar project east of the Mississippi River.
The $500 million investment “demonstrates our commitment to solar and renewables on the regulated side of the utility, and in doing so in a way that benefits our customers,” said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president for distributed generation at Duke.