In the Top 10 utility solar power lists compiled by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), Duke Energy Progress was ranked third among all utility companies for bringing on new solar capacity during 2015.
DEP's 461 MW of owned and purchased capacity for customers in 2015 helped it climb to third in the nation after being fourth the previous year. Overall, North Carolina is fourth in the nation for installed solar power capacity.
The rankings were announced Tuesday at the organization's Utility Solar Conference in Denver. The ninth annual survey includes figures from more than 300 utilities across the country.
Since 2007, more than 1,000 projects representing more than 5,000 MW of generation have sought interconnection in Duke Energy's North Carolina service territory. To support this growth, Duke Energy has added a Renewable Service Center, a customer call center designed to help with the high volume of residential solar-related interconnection requests. The company has also increased its engineering, support resources and construction crews for solar power.
During 2015, Duke Energy worked on a $500 million solar expansion in North Carolina, including sites in Bladen, Duplin, Onslow and Wilson counties.
Already in 2016, Duke Energy has announced new solar projects in Davie, Rowan and Union counties. Overall, Duke Energy utilities purchases solar energy from almost 800 facilities in North Carolina — in addition to 3,500 rooftop solar customers.
Nationwide, Duke Energy has invested more than $4 billion in solar and wind energy and plans to invest another $3 billion over the next five years. In addition to North Carolina, the company is currently looking to expand utility-owned projects in Florida, Indiana and South Carolina.
Overall, Duke Energy companies own or purchase more than 1,700 MW of solar capacity.