Duke Energy said on July 27 that it has begun construction on two major solar projects in North Carolina. The projects:
- The 69-megawatt (MW) Maiden Creek solar facility, located on Didley Dadburn Road in the Catawba County town of Maiden; and
- The 25-MW Gaston solar facility located on Neal Road in the Gaston County town of Bessemer City
The projects were selected as part of a competitive bidding process that was established from 2017’s landmark solar legislation in North Carolina, the utility said in a statement. The projects were among the most cost-effective and will deliver clean solar energy at the lowest possible cost.
“Catawba County applauds Duke Energy’s efforts in partnering with the private sector to increase the use of cost-effective renewable energy,” said Randy Isenhower, chair, Catawba County Board of Commissioners. “This project will bring jobs to our community during construction and generate clean energy for years to come.”
Together, the projects will feature about 400,000 solar panels and generate enough energy to power approximately 20,000 homes and businesses. Both projects are scheduled to come online by the end of this year. At peak construction, a combined 380 workers will be employed at the two sites.
“Building more solar supports Duke Energy’s strategy of lowering carbon emissions as we strive to meet our 2050 net-zero carbon goal,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We participated in a rigorous bidding process – competing with other companies to bring more renewable energy to the state.”
On-site workers will fluctuate throughout the construction process. Duke Energy will ensure safe work practices by contractors meeting the highest expectations. Duke Energy will also provide proper traffic management support to ensure safe operations around the site at all times.
Under North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy, proposed projects must be built where there is a need for energy capacity on the Duke Energy system in North Carolina or South Carolina. The bids can come from any company, including Duke Energy, and can be in the form of power purchase agreements (PPA), utility self-developed facilities or utility asset acquisitions.
Duke Energy maintains more than 3,300 MW of solar power on its energy grid in North Carolina, which could power about 700,000 homes and businesses at peak output. The company also operates 40 solar facilities in the state. North Carolina currently ranks No. 2 in the nation for overall solar power, the company says.