Anthony Alston  /  Solar Technician  /  Kathleen Alexandridis  /  Engineer – Dogwood Solar Site, Scotland Neck, NC

Solar Shines Bright in 2017

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For the past few years, wind energy has been Duke Energy’s fastest growing renewable energy resource. But in 2017, solar power led the company’s transition to more renewable energy.

North Carolina continues to be the company’s top solar energy state. The company connected almost 500 megawatts of solar power to its energy grid in 2017 – keeping North Carolina the No. 2 overall state in the nation for installed solar energy capacity.

In addition, the company worked with numerous stakeholders to support the Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina law, which will expand solar power even further in the state. The law – called H.B. 589 – helps Duke Energy roll out new programs that will make solar more attractive to all types of customers. In addition, the law will spur future construction of utility-scale solar projects that will serve thousands of customers.

With a number of solar facilities already in place, Duke Energy Florida announced it would add up to 700 megawatts of solar over the next four years. Part of that growth is already underway. The 75-megawatt Hamilton Solar Plant is under construction now, and will produce enough emissions-free energy to power more than 20,000 homes at peak production.

In Northern Kentucky, Duke Energy completed three solar facilities in Kenton and Grant counties – the first company-owned and operated plants in the state.

In Indiana, Duke Energy, the Department of the Navy and Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane celebrated the operation of a 17-megawatt solar power plant at NSA Crane – also the company’s first company-owned solar facility in the state.

In South Carolina, the company’s successful solar rebate program continued, with about 2,600 customers signing up to take advantage of the company’s program.

The company’s commercial unit, Duke Energy Renewables, helped the company expand to a new state in 2017. The company acquired the 25-megawatt Shoreham Solar Commons project in New York.

Still, there was progress made on wind energy in 2017. In Kay County, Okla., the company's 200-megawatt Frontier Windpower Project began producing power. It's Duke Energy's first renewable energy project in Oklahoma. The company sells the output to City Utilities of Springfield, Mo.

The company continues to be on track for its sustainability goal of owning or purchasing 8,000 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass capacity by 2020. At the end of 2017, the company’s overall total was 6,400 megawatts.