Duke Energy to announce $225 mn funding for commercial solar projects


Duke Energy has announced $225 million funding to develop commercial solar projects through a streamlined process along with REC solar.

REC and Duke will keep certain standard norms for pre-qualification of commercial customers who are in need of solar installations.

The terms of the REC Solar agreement were not disclosed.

“We are going to acquire controlling interest in REC Solar and we are going to rely on their business plans,” explained Duke Energy VP/Commercial Portfolio President Marc Manly. “They know what they are doing. And they have targeted markets where the retail rates make it economic for customers, where customers want it, and where the regulatory rules are appropriate.”

The procedure will be like, when a customer approaches REC Solar for solar installation, it will be made sure that the project meets the pre-set conditions by the company.

Later, REC will inform the customers that Duke Energy is willing to invest in the installation as part of a pre-determined process, agreeing upon a construction start date with a signed document.

A typical project will be of 100-500 KW, but even a one MW project can take off well with the new process, according to company sources.

The process is similar to the simplified residential solar installation executed by SolarCity and Sunrun.

Since 2005, commercial solar sales have slowed down and REC Solar wants to provide the underserved smaller businesses with clean energy solutions through easier customer financing, including leases and power purchase agreements.

Duke Energy being the largest electric utility in the nation operates wind and solar facilities in twelve states.

Since 2007, Duke has invested over four billion dollars in utility-scale renewables projects and since 2009, over $41 million has been invested in piloting a rooftop solar program for schools, manufacturing facilities, and municipal buildings.

In 2013, Duke Energy invested in Clean Power Finance to provide financial services and software to the solar industry.

REC Solar has installed over 104.453 total megawatts in more than 350 commercial solar systems in the United States.

The firm specializes in retail and manufacturing business, agriculture, government and utility projects, and nonprofits, and is committed to efficient systems at a reduced solar power cost.

The projects undertaken by REC Solar include small local business rooftop installations as well as multi-megawatt utility projects.

Sabeena Wahid