Solar energy is now helping power homes and businesses served by electric cooperative EnergyUnited, thanks to a new photovoltaic solar farm in Taylorsville, N.C., that Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS) recently acquired from SunEdison.
STATESVILLE, N.C., EnergyUnited, which serves residents of Alexander County and 19 other counties in the state, will buy all of the output from the one-megawatt (MW) solar facility under the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement with DEGS, a Duke Energy Commercial Businesses unit. The solar farm began generating renewable power in early October 2010.
“At EnergyUnited, we’re committed to helping build a clean energy future for our members,” said Wayne Wilkins, CEO of the cooperative. “The solar farm, along with power produced at the Iredell County landfill, allows us to meet state requirements for renewable energy, while continuing to provide reliable energy services at competitive prices.”
EnergyUnited will also receive all associated renewable energy credits (RECs) from the solar project. These RECs help the cooperative meet the N.C. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard requirement to obtain 10 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2018.
The solar farm’s 4,224 photovoltaic (PV) panels can generate enough electricity to power approximately 150 average-sized homes. The panels use a tracking system to follow the sun’s movement during the day, which increases sunlight capture (as compared to conventional fixed-tilt systems) and significantly reduces land use requirements.
DEGS acquired the project in October 2010 from SunEdison, a global provider of solar energy services, which designed and installed the PV system at the Taylorsville site. The solar farm is the third in DEGS’ growing commercial solar generation portfolio. DEGS owns and operates a 1-MW PV solar project in Shelby, N.C., and a 14-MW facility in San Antonio, Texas – the largest in that state.
“Our goal is to help customers make strategic investments in renewable energy in a way that’s affordable and practical,” said Greg Wolf, DEGS senior vice president and head of its commercial solar business. “We’re pleased to add EnergyUnited to our growing list of quality customers.”
In addition to its renewable energy contracts, EnergyUnited continues to examine potential investments in hydropower, wind power and biomass projects.
DEGS’ renewable energy initiatives are separate from the activities of Duke Energy Carolinas, which is part of Duke Energy’s regulated business. Duke Energy Carolinas is installing solar panels on select business and residential customers’ properties as part of a $50 million program approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission in May 2009.
EnergyUnited serves about 120,000 electricity customers in 19 North Carolina counties, stretching from Virginia to northern Mecklenburg County and encompassing the fast-growing I-40, I-77, and I-85 corridors. Its service territory includes suburbs surrounding three of North Carolina‘s largest cities – Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Greensboro. EnergyUnited makes customer satisfaction its highest priority, and its electric customers enjoy one of the highest reliability rates in the industry. EnergyUnited also provides propane to more than 29,000 customers in 74 North and South Carolina counties and offers other specialized residential and commercial products and services. More information is available at www.energyunited.com.
About DEGS and Duke Energy
Duke Energy Generation Services is a leader in developing innovative renewable energy solutions, including wind, solar and biopower projects. DEGS builds, owns and operates electric generation for large energy consumers, municipalities, utilities and industrial facilities. DEGS is also working to build commercial transmission capacity to help the U.S. meet its energy needs of the future.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.
Source: Duke Energy