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Apr 222010

Ten new customer sites across North Carolina will have solar panels installed on their building or grounds as part of Duke Energy’s distributed solar generation program, the company announced today. The Environmental Protection Agency’s facility in Durham is among the sites that will have solar equipment added.

Duke launched the program in October 2009, when roof space was leased from four large manufacturing and commercial facilities for placement of solar panels. The company said the 10 new sites will generate approximately 4.1 megawatts of emission-free direct current electricity by 2011, enough to power approximately 525 average-sized homes. The new locations are:

  • Lincoln Charter School, Denver, N.C.
  • Gaston County Schools, Lowell, N.C.
  • Environmental Protection Agency, Durham, N.C.
  • Maple View Farm, Hillsborough,  N.C.
  • City of Charlotte Department of Transportation Facility, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Liberty Hardware/Johnson Development, Winston Salem, N.C.
  • Childress Klein Properties, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Carrier Centers, LLC, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Siemens, Winston Salem, N.C.
  • Daimler Trucks North America, Cleveland, N.C.

When the distributed solar generation program is complete, Duke Energy will have invested approximately $50 million to construct and own a total of 10 megawatts of solar energy capacity in the state, capable of providing electricity to approximately 1,300 homes.

“Partnering with sites visible to our customers helps build knowledge and understanding of solar energy,” Brett Carter, president of Duke Energy Carolinas, said in a statement. “This innovative program brings more solar energy to our customers, and helps us meet the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard in a way that balances costs to customers.”

Duke said the sites were selected based on the organization’s interest in solar energy, ready access to the electrical grid and solar potential, in addition to other essential lease agreement criteria. Installations are under way on a few of the sites, and construction is expected to be complete by fall 2010.

North Carolina‘s renewable energy standard requires each public electric utility to meet at least 12.5 percent of its North Carolina retail customers’ electricity needs through new renewable energy sources or energy efficiency measures by 2021.