It may seem like it has been some time since North Carolina made the news with regards to utility-scale solar. This isn’t actually the case, though these big North Carolina solar projects haven’t been in the news every week, as they were earlier this year. Most of the large installations making headlines have been developed by Innovative Solar Systems, but they are not the only player in the game.
FLS Energy has closed financing and begun construction on 21 MW of utility-scale solar farms across four locations in Guilford County, North Carolina. The solar energy plants are expected to produce approximately 32 million kWh of electricity per year, or enough energy to power over 3200 average U.S. homes.
Duke Energy will purchase the electricity generated by the solar energy systems through 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs). The utility has been adding solar installations to its portfolio left and right, with plans to add over 386 MW before the year is out.
“This bundle of projects will finish our 2014 build schedule and will complete the most successful year of solar development in our company’s history. Large projects like this have lead the way for solar development in North Carolina. They have been the driving force behind the drastic reductions in installation costs for residential, commercial, and utility scale solar we have seen in the past few years. We expect to double our 2014 results next year and look forward to solar energy contributing to our energy security and independence,” said Dale Freudenberger, CEO of FLS Energy.
With all of the development Duke is doing on solar, it can be easy to forget that the utility is still hoping to monopolize the energy market. Its great that these large projects are taking place, but Duke is still fighting to control rooftop solar. An unregulated, competitive energy market is needed in these areas to ensure consumers can choose where to get their power from.