Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions (DESS) is now operating its largest solar power plant ever — the 250 MW Pisgah Ridge Solar project in Navarro County, Texas.
“We’re excited to continue to grow our Texas solar portfolio,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. “This project demonstrates how we can continue to expand our renewable energy resources while providing unique sustainability solutions for commercial customers.”
Currently, the company operates nearly 1,500 MW of wind, 750 MW of solar and a 36-MW battery storage facility in Texas.
Charles River Laboratories International Inc., a leading provider of critical research tools and integrated support services that enable innovative and efficient drug discovery and development, has a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 102 MW of the project over the next 15 years.
This commitment will address the entirety of the company’s North American electric power load with clean, renewable energy by 2023.
“Charles River has committed to sourcing 100% of our global electricity needs through renewable sources by 2030,” said Gregg Belardo, executive director of EHS and sustainability at Charles River. “Our VPPA with DESS provides coverage for our North American facilities and moves us significantly closer to that global goal. We are proud to partner with Duke Energy and are excited that Pisgah Ridge is now online.”
Midwest retailer Meijer signed a separate 15-year VPPA agreement for 83 MW of solar energy generated by the Pisgah Ridge Solar project. One other company has a third 15-year VPPA agreement. Together, the three agreements account for more than 90% of the facility’s output.
All three VPPAs associated with the site will settle on an as-generated basis tied to the project’s real-time energy output.
“Lessening our impact on the environment through a continued commitment in reducing carbon emissions is an issue that is important to us and our customers,” said Erik Petrovskis, director of environmental compliance and sustainability at Meijer. “We’ve made significant progress over the years, but this project with Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions puts us on the right path to making an even bigger impact.”
The engineering and construction for the project was performed by Moss, while Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions will own and operate the project.
The project employed around 300 workers at peak construction. Along with indirect economic benefits that accompany solar project development, such as increased local spending in the service and construction industries, the Pisgah Ridge Solar facility will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing significant tax revenues for the Corsicana Independent School District.
Helping the community
The Duke Energy Foundation has given the city of Richland, Texas, in Navarro County, a $50,000 DESS grant to support the revitalization of Richland Community Park. The grant was used to replace existing playground equipment with a new playscape and park benches and enhance landscaping around the new equipment.
The Foundation also awarded two grants to the Richland Volunteer Fire Department totaling $37,000 to help the department maintain the critical safety services it provides to local businesses and residents in Richland, Texas, and surrounding Navarro County.
Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions is a nonregulated commercial brand of Duke Energy, one of the largest energy holding companies in the United States, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
— Solar Builder magazine