City of Charlotte signs PPA with Duke for 35MW solar farm

Ilaria Grasso Macola 15 May 2020 (Last Updated May 15th, 2020 16:16)

The city of Charlotte has signed an agreement with Duke Energy for a 35MW solar project in North Carolina.

City of Charlotte signs PPA with Duke for 35MW solar farm
Charlotte will be the first municipality to adhere to the GSA. Credit: Chris Hunkeler.

The city of Charlotte has signed an agreement with Duke Energy for a 35MW solar project in North Carolina.

The solar farm – which will be built in Iredell County, 50 miles north of Charlotte – will be under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Duke. According to the PPA, Duke will provide renewable energy to offset Charlotte’s municipal energy demand.

Understanding the project

The city of Charlotte will partner with North Carolina solar energy company Carolina Solar Energy to build the project, which is expected to become operational in 2022.

By investing in the solar project, Charlotte has become the first city to strike an agreement under Duke’s Green Source Advantage (GSA) programme, which allows big costumers to offset their power demands by purchasing renewable energy from Duke Energy’s grid.

By participating in the GSA programme, which has 600MW of capacity available for customers in North Carolina, Charlotte aims to become 100% renewable energy fuelled by 2030.

The company has more than 3,300MW of solar power in its energy grid and operates 40 solar facilities in the state.

Executives respond to the deal

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said: “We are proud to be a municipal leader in North Carolina and in the US, not only setting ambitious climate and energy goals but taking actions on those goals to support the environment and health of our community.”

Duke Energy North Carolina president Stephen De May said: “Our customers want more options to secure renewable energy and the Green Source Advantage makes that happen.

“We designed the programme to be flexible and allow larger users to negotiate directly with third-party developers. It supports our customers’ goal and expands renewable energy in North Carolina.”

Company overview and share price

With a market cap of $61.5bn and $145bn worth of assets in 2018, Duke Energy is one of the world’s largest energy providers.

The company, which has almost eight million customers, has a 54,000MW of electric generating capacity.

In January, the company began commercial operations at the 200MW Mesteño solar farm, located in Texas’s Starr County.  The company’s share price yesterday closed at $82.30, slowly recovering after falling to $80.07 on 7 May, lowest the worst in a month.

Founded in 2004, Carolina Solar Energy is a solar PV and solar energy project developer. In the last 16 years, the company has developed almost 500MW of solar projects – including those in construction and those currently operating.