- Principal Solar will move ahead on a $173 million, 78 MW solar array in North Carolina projected to go online in early 2016. Innovative Solar Systems will develop and Duke Energy holds a 15 year power purchase agreement for the project’s output.
- Principal Solar claims it will be the biggest solar project “east of the Rockies” but, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are other similarly-sized or bigger projects at comparable stages of development, including developer National Solar Power’s 100 MW, 200 MW, and 400 MW Florida installations.
- The U.S. has an estimated 17.5 GW of installed solar capacity. Principal Solar CEO Michael Gorton, who previously worked in medical data, music, and internet services, has been working at his goal of owning 1 gigawatt of installed solar energy since 2010 but has acquired only 3.2 megawatts so far.
There are, according to SEIA, over 799 major solar projects representing over 43 GW of capacity currently in operation, construction, or development. There are over 8.4 GW of major solar projects online. The pipeline of over 31 GW is composed of both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power projects.
Grid-connected solar in North Carolina grew 127% between 2010 and 2013, from 40 megawatts to 469 megawatts. It is on pace to provide 20% of the state’s electricity, according the report "Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in North Carolina." North Carolina was tenth among U.S. states for cumulative installed solar capacity at the end of 2013 and has the potential to produce over 30 times the state's annual electricity use.
North Carolina’s solar growth was produced by its 12.5% by 2021 renewables mandate, which contains a 0.2% solar requirement, and by a state 30% tax credit for solar that supplements the 30% federal investment tax credit.