Duke Energy to build its first solar power array at military facility

A partnership between Duke Energy, the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps will lead to a 13 MW (AC) solar facility being built at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Onslow County, N.C.

The facility will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Progress (DEP) and is expected online in 2015. It will help Duke Energy diversify its energy mix and meet the N.C. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.

Covering 80 acres, the 13 MW solar energy facility (or 17 MW DC) will connect to the electric grid at a DEP-owned substation on military property. The power will be available to DEP customers. Camp Lejeune will continue to purchase power from DEP.

Crowder Construction Services, based in Charlotte, will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor. The project will use monocrystalline solar panels supplied by SolarWorld Americas, based in Oregon. GE's Power Conversion business will supply its Brilliance 2-stage Ultra tracking inverters to be built out of their Pittsburgh facility.

When the sun is shining, the new project could provide power to about 3,000 homes. To proceed, Duke Energy must obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the N.C. Utilities Commission.

Currently, Duke Energy purchases about 500 MW of solar capacity for its North Carolina customers.

In December 2014, Duke Energy received regulatory approval for a $500 million expansion of solar energy for its customers — including three facilities the company will own and operate, totaling 128 MW.

The company will also purchase 150 MW of power from five other large-scale solar facilities.

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