Duke Energy to build its first solar power project in North Carolina

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Duke Energy announced its third solar power project to be built in 2016, with the 6 MW Woodleaf Solar Facility slated for Rowan County, N.C.

"We see 2016 shaping up to be active year for Duke Energy-owned solar projects," said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources. "Our customers want us to actively pursue renewable energy, and we are delivering on that desire."

Today, Duke Energy filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission on a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity — needed for the plant to be built. CPCN's 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 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 located near the intersection of Highway 801 and Old U.S. Highway 70 in the community of Woodleaf in Rowan County. It will occupy roughly 50 acres of land already owned by Duke Energy.

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.

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 141 MW of projects announced in 2015 — in Bladen, Duplin, Onslow and Wilson counties.

For 2016, Duke Energy utilities have announced 81 MW of planned solar power — already more than 50 percent 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 across the country. The company plans to invest about $3 billion in renewable energy over the next five years.

As a point of reference, 1 MW of large-scale solar is equivalent to about 200 typical residential rooftop systems. The number varies by state and conditions.

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