Duke Energy Renewables completes solar farm in Eastern N.C.

Jan 14, 2013 12:00 AM

Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, has completed construction of a 12.5-megawatt (MW) commercial-scale solar power project in Beaufort County, N.C., near Bath and Washington. The Washington White Post solar farm was placed into service in December 2012. "This project fits well with our mission to provide affordable and increasingly clean energy to North Carolina," said Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers.

"As a merged company, we are delighted to build on Progress Energy's proud history of service and involvement in eastern North Carolina. The Washington White Post solar project further demonstrates our commitment to continuing this legacy."

North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) is purchasing the electricity generated at the solar farm through a 15-year agreement. The site has the ability to produce enough electricity to power about 3,000 homes.

"With the 11 MW of commercial solar power we already generate in North Carolina, the Beaufort County facility more than doubles our solar capacity in the state," said Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf. "In fact, it is our largest solar power project in the eastern United States."

Duke Energy Renewables contracted with SunEnergy1, a solar design, engineering and construction company based in Mooresville, N.C., to build the 53,000-panel photovoltaic project.

"We're proud that our partnership with Duke Energy Renewables generated more than 125 local jobs in Beaufort County during construction and that those workers brought the project in on time and on budget," said Kenny Habul, SunEnergy1 chief executive officer.

"We're also pleased that the solar project allowed us to make much-needed investments in the local economy by purchasing supplies, services, materials and heavy-duty construction equipment."

SunEnergy1 designed the solar array and will continue to handle operations, monitoring and maintenance of the system.

Other North Carolina companies involved in the project include:Deatwyler Clean Energy of Huntersville, N.C.; Bosch Solar Energy from Mooresville, N.C.; and the Sustainable Energy Community Development Company based in Davidson, N.C.

The Washington White Post Solar Power Project is Duke Energy Renewables' 14th wholly owned commercial solar farm. In addition to this 12.5-MW Beaufort County facility and the 5-MW Murfreesboro Solar Power Project in eastern North Carolina, Duke Energy Renewables owns six 1-MW solar facilities in the western part of the state.

Since 2007, Duke Energy has invested more than $2.5 billion to grow its commercial wind and solar business.

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