Duke Energy announced its third solar project to be built in 2016, the 6-megawatt Woodleaf Solar Facility slated for Rowan County.
“We see 2016 shaping up to be an active year for Duke Energy-owned solar projects,” said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president of distributed energy resources. “Our customers want us to actively pursue renewable energy, and we are delivering on that desire.”
Duke Energy filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission for a certificate of public convenience and necessity needed to build the plant. Similar certificates were filed earlier for projects in Davie and Union counties.
“We appreciate Duke Energy’s continued investment in Rowan County with the Woodleaf project,” said Greg Edds, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. “Duke Energy has made significant investments in the community to meet the energy needs of the region and we look forward to a continuing partnership with them in Rowan County.”
The Woodleaf Solar Facility will be near N.C. Highway 801 and Old U.S. Highway 70 in the community of Woodleaf in Rowan County. It will occupy roughly 50 acres already owned by Duke Energy.
The project didn’t require rezoning but rather a conditional use permit, said Aaron Church, Rowan County manager. No economic incentives were offered, he said.
If approved by the NCUC, the project will begin construction in the second quarter of 2016, with completion targeted for the end of the year.
The project will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Carolinas and will help meet North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, a legislative effort to derive an increasing share of energy from renewable and clean sources and energy-efficiency programs.
Duke Energy continues to invest heavily in solar energy in North Carolina as part of its effort to deliver increasingly clean energy to its customers. The company is about to complete projects generating 141 megawatts in Bladen, Duplin, Onslow and Wilson counties.
So far in 2016, Duke Energy utilities have announced solar power projects that would generate 81 megawatts – already more than half of what was done in 2015. This aggressive expansion by Duke Energy companies has led North Carolina to be ranked fourth nationally for overall installed solar.
Over the past eight years, Duke Energy, through its regulated and commercial businesses, has invested more than $4 billion in solar and wind power across the country. The company plans to invest about $3 billion in renewable energy over the next five years.
One megawatt of large-scale solar is equivalent to about 200 typical residential rooftop systems, according to Duke. The number varies by state and conditions.