Duke Energy has started construction on the 50-MW Broad River Solar power plant in Cleveland County, N.C.
Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial subsidiary of Duke Energy, will own and operate the project. The project was selected as part of the competitive bidding process established by solar legislation in North Carolina in 2017.
The power plant will contain more than 170,000 solar panels across approximately 500 acres near Boiling Springs. The facility will power the equivalent of 12,500 homes. It is expected to reach commercial operation by the end of 2021, said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president.
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.
Broad River Solar will generate approximately 120 jobs during peak construction. Broad River Solar will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing local tax revenues to the county and local school districts, as well as payments to the participating landowners.
The facility’s design, procurement of inverters, balance of plant systems and construction of the project will be performed by Swinerton. The solar power generated by Broad River Solar will be sold through a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Duke Energy maintains more than 3,700 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 more than 40 solar facilities in the state. North Carolina currently ranks No. 3 in the nation for overall solar power.
Duke Energy plans to double its enterprisewide renewable portfolio from 8 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to 16 GW by the end of 2025.