Duke Energy takes full ownership of REC Solar

Duke Energy

Duke Energy has acquired full ownership of California-based REC Solar, which the company first acquired a majority interest in, in February of 2015. Duke Energy purchased the remaining shares of REC Solar in a cash transaction. Details were not disclosed.

REC Solar will be managed as an independent business unit of Duke Energy Renewables. Duke Energy Renewables’ experience in offsite solar and wind energy generation, microgrid, battery storage and other emerging technologies, will supplement REC’s onsite solar expertise.

“REC Solar complements our strengths in forming strategic partnerships with customers of all sizes,” said Chris Fallon, vice president Duke Energy Renewables and Commercial Portfolio. “Energy solutions specifically tailored to the commercial consumer will expand renewable energy opportunities for enterprise, municipal, educational and business customers, large and small.”

For example, the energy solutions deployed by Montgomery County, Maryland, partnering with Duke Energy Renewables, REC Solar and Schneider Electric, shows the opportunities afforded by tapping into a diversified energy portfolio. The county incorporated solar and high-efficiency heat delivered through a microgrid-as-a-service model to provide a more resilient and reliable power source that produces approximately 10.7 million kilowatt hours of solar energy per year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 3,629 metric tons.

“Duke Energy brings expertise in utility-scale renewables and enables us to be a one-stop-shop solution for customers in a complex marketplace,” said Matthew Walz, president & CEO of REC Solar. “We can offer our customers access to more financing options and diverse energy choices, whether it be offsite or onsite, battery storage, solar power or wind generation.”

Duke Energy Renewables’ renewable energy includes utility-scale wind and solar generation assets which total 2,900 MW across 14 states from 20 commercial wind and 63 solar projects.

— Solar Builder magazine

Duke Energy says South Carolina solar rebate program a huge success

Duke Energy

Duke Energy is hyped about solar installations in South Carolina. Act 236, an omnibus solar bill passed by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014, opened the door for Duke Energy to offer a variety of solar programs to customers, and offer them they have. The main rebate program provides $1 per watt for qualified residential customers who install systems up to 20 kilowatts on their property; and for business customers who install systems up to 1 megawatt on their property.

Nonprofit and governmental entities may be eligible to receive a rebate of $1.50 per watt for systems up to 20 kilowatts on their property.

What do you know — people like it

As a former college instructor on the topics of economics and finance, Bob Horst knows a good deal when he sees one. Horst had considered installing solar generation at his home, but the upfront cost – while steadily declining – are still a significant out-of-pocket expense. Once he heard about Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program, he jumped at the opportunity.

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“The rebate program brought my cost to install down significantly,” Horst said. “Since then, our bill has been nearly zero. Now I’m planning to buy an electric car, and I love the fact that I will be able to power that at home with solar energy.”

Scope of the program

In only one year, more than 1,800 residential customers and 125 business customers have applied to participate in Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program. The program will have paid nearly $12 million in rebates to South Carolina customers by the end of 2016. The rebates help with the upfront cost of installing solar panels for customers – making the technology more accessible to the company’s 730,000 customers in the state.

“Our customers have responded very positively to our solar rebate program,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president. “It’s expanded the choices our customers have in meeting their energy needs by helping to lower the upfront costs associated with building solar installations.”

More than 40 MW-ac of solar power is scheduled to come online already, putting Duke Energy more than halfway to the 53-megawatt goal cited by the act.

With the rebate program nearing capacity, a waiting list has been established for some of the offerings associated with this program. All applications for the rebate program must be vetted and approved. Should an application be denied, the waiting list will be used on a first-come, first-served basis.

Shared Solar program details

Though the rebate program is coming to a close, Duke Energy will begin offering in 2017 a Shared Solar Program. Shared solar allows customers who can’t or don’t want to put solar on their property the ability to participate in the economic and environmental benefits of solar.


— Solar Builder magazine

Have some unusable land? Try adding a solar farm like Rock Barn Country Club

Melink Corp. has completed development of a 5.25 MW solar farm in the Charlotte, N.C., metro region. Located on land owned by Rock Barn Country Club & Spa in Conover, the photovoltaic array began operating Nov. 18. The vast array comprises 16,948 solar panels on 28 acres.

All of the electricity produced by the solar farm will be sold to Duke Energy. The system is expected to generate more than 7.3 million kilowatt hours of clean energy – enough electricity to serve 500 homes annually – in its first year of operation. The system has an expected life of up to 35 years.

Rock Barn Properties, had explored development opportunities on some of its land that was otherwise unbuildable for commercial or residential, and solar was the perfect solution.

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“We are very grateful for the opportunity to have partnered with Rock Barn’s owner, Don Beaver, on this project,” said Steve Melink, founder and CEO of the Cincinnati-based company that provides energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for the commercial building industry. “At 5 megawatts, it is our largest solar PV project to date. And being located in North Carolina, it allows us to show our national capabilities. Solar power is the way of the future and we are proud to be helping lead the way.”

Construction of the solar farm began in November 2015 and concluded in June, despite record precipitation in the Blue Ridge Mountain region of North Carolina in November and December. The solar farm has just received final regulatory approval to begin operations.

Melink Corporation is a global provider of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for the commercial building industry, with four business offerings: HVAC Testing & Balancing, Intelli-Hood Kitchen Ventilation Controls, Solar PV Development and Geothermal HVAC.

— Solar Builder magazine

Duke Energy Carolinas issues RFP for 750,000 MWh of renewable projects

Duke EnergyFurthering efforts to provide renewable energy to customers, Duke Energy Carolinas issued a request for 750,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy located in its territory. The RFP is open to solar, wind, biomass, landfill gas and other facilities that qualify as a renewable energy resource under REPS requirements – excluding swine and poultry waste. Facilities must be located in the DEC service territory.

Click here for info on submitting an RFP.

“We want to encourage market development of more renewable generation in the Duke Energy Carolinas system in the most competitive manner possible,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. “This RFP gives developers the opportunity to either pursue projects themselves or sell current projects under development to Duke Energy.”

The RFP calls for 750,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy and associated renewable energy certificates (RECs) located in the DEC territory. A REC, equaling one megawatt-hour of renewable energy generation, demonstrates Duke Energy’s compliance with the renewable energy mandate.

The 750,000 MWh figure is about what 400 MWs of solar capacity would generate in a year. When operating at peak capacity, it is enough to supply the energy needs of nearly 62,000 residential houses.

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Interested bidders must already be in the DEC interconnection queue, which includes renewable projects already proposed in the region. The RFP allows bidders the flexibility to offer three options:

• Purchased power proposals;

• engineer, procurement and construction turnkey proposals in which Duke Energy takes ownership of the new facility; or

• project development proposals that are in the late stages of development where Duke Energy would take ownership and build the new facility.

Proposed projects must be in operation by Dec. 31, 2018.


— Solar Builder magazine

North Carolina solar installations took off in 2015

Duke Energy2015 marked a banner year for solar power in North Carolina as Duke Energy companies set a record for the amount of solar energy they added in the state — more than 300 MW, enough to power about 60,000 average homes at peak production.

In its regulated service territory, Duke Energy committed $500 million for a major expansion of solar power in North Carolina. Last year, the company constructed and now owns four utility-scale solar projects totaling 141 MW and is buying 150 MW of solar power from other developers. The 141 MW represents about 25 percent of the total installed solar capacity in Duke Energy’s North Carolina service territory in 2015. The company-owned sites are in Bladen, Duplin, Wilson and Onslow counties. At the Onslow County site, the 13-MW Camp Lejeune Solar Facility is the company’s first solar project located at a military base.

ICYMI: North Carolina hits 1 GW of solar capacity (we start slow clap)

“Solar is helping to modernize our generation mix and better serve our customers’ needs,” said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources. “We plan to continue the momentum; we’ve already announced we will build an additional 75 MW in 2016.”

Also in North Carolina, Google was the first customer to announce participation in Duke Energy’s Green Source Rider, a program that gives customers the option to purchase renewable energy to offset new energy consumption. Duke Energy will buy the power from a 61-MW solar project, owned by Rutherford Farms, LLC, for Google’s expanded data center in Caldwell County.

Also in 2015, Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, built eight solar projects in North Carolina, totaling more than 160 MW and representing an investment of nearly $400 million. This included the 80-MW Conetoe facility, the largest solar project brought on line east of the Mississippi, and a 5-MW project in Tarboro that was completed on Dec. 31.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says North Carolina should be second only to California for utility-scale solar construction in 2015. Duke Energy’s investments in the state have been instrumental in North Carolina ranking fourth in the nation cumulatively and No. 1 in the South for solar capacity.

Summary of Duke Energy’s 2015 solar projects in North Carolina:

Project name Location Size (AC)
Duke Energy’s regulated utility solar projects
Warsaw Duplin County 65 MW
Elm City Wilson County 40 MW
Fayetteville Bladen County 23 MW
Camp Lejeune Onslow County 13 MW
Duke Energy Renewables’ solar projects
Creswell Washington County 14 MW
Everetts Wildcat Martin County 5 MW
Battleboro Edgecombe County 5 MW
Sunbury Gates County 5 MW
Capital Partners Phase II Kelford and Whitakers 33 MW
Conetoe Edgecombe County 80 MW
Shawboro Currituck County 20 MW
Tarboro Edgecombe County 5 MW


— Solar Builder magazine