Duke Energy Renewables buys California solar energy project from SolarWorld

Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy (DUK), acquired two commercial solar power projects near Twentynine Palms, Calif., from project developer SolarWorld.

The twin projects, named Highlander Solar 1 and 2, are in close proximity and will be run as a single operation. It will collectively generate 21 MW of renewable energy, enough to power more than 4,000 average homes each year.

Southern California Edison will buy all of the output generated by the solar project through a 20-year power purchase agreement.

After purchasing the sites in May of 2012, SolarWorld directed the project's engineering, procurement, permitting and construction and will complete Highlander in the second quarter of this year. Commercial operation will follow shortly thereafter. At the peak of construction, the project employed more than 200 workers, the majority from surrounding communities.

Highlander, which SolarWorld originally named the Desert Star Solar Projects, sits on two parcels of land and features 100,188 SolarWorld Sunmodule solar panels manufactured in the company's Hillsboro, Ore., factory and mounted on SolarWorld's Suntrac single-axis trackers. When commissioned, the project will rank among the state's largest operating crystalline-silicon solar installations.

With the addition of Highlander, Duke Energy Renewables now owns more than 100 MW of generating capacity at 15 U.S. solar farms. Since 2007, Duke Energy has invested more than $2.5 billion to grow its commercial wind and solar business.

Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

Duke Energy Renewables has a portfolio of commercial renewable assets includes 15 wind farms and 15 solar farms in operation in 10 states, totaling more than 1,700 MW in electric-generating capacity.

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