Solar, in all shapes and sizes, was the big renewable energy story at Duke Energy in 2018.
Driven by rebate programs and other incentives, Duke Energy’s number of rooftop solar customers in our regulated states rose around 30 percent during the year. Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina remain the top Duke Energy states for privately owned solar systems, with more than 30,000 customers owning facilities.
In Florida, the 74.9-megawatt (MW) Hamilton Solar Plant came online in Jasper – making it the company’s largest solar facility to date.
In 2018, Duke Energy broke ground on the Columbia Solar Power Plant in Fort White, Florida. Duke Energy will own, operate and maintain the 74.9-MW facility, which is expected to be fully operational in 2020. In March 2019, the company announced three more solar projects in Florida, totaling 195 MW, that are expected to be in service in late 2019 or early 2020.
In the Carolinas, the company continues to roll out new offerings for customers interested in solar power. In its first two years, around 3,000 customers took advantage of Duke Energy’s $62 million solar rebate program in North Carolina. A similar, and just as popular, program is wrapping up in South Carolina.
The company will also be offering solar leasing to North Carolina customers through a subsidiary that will build, own and operate on-site solar facilities for customers. The program will provide customers another option to access renewable energy without paying a large upfront investment.
For large customers, the company’s new Green Source Advantage program will allow customers to secure renewable power to meet sustainability and renewable energy goals. This "green tariff" provides customers the flexibility to negotiate directly with solar developers to add more renewable energy to the grid, with no cost to other customer classes.
The company’s unregulated unit, Duke Energy Renewables, expanded its operating solar portfolio to another state, with the 24.9-MW Shoreham Solar Commons Project near Brookhaven, New York. The project, placed into service in July, is about 60 miles east of Manhattan. Long Island Power Authority is purchasing the power produced from the project from Duke Energy Renewables.
The company continues to be on track for its sustainability goal of owning or purchasing 8,000 MW of wind, solar and biomass capacity by 2020. At the end of 2018, the company’s overall total was 7,100 MW.