Duke Energy’s nonregulated commercial brand, Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, has begun the construction of a 250MW solar project in Navarro County, Texas.

Located outside Dallas, the Pisgah Ridge Solar facility will generate enough clean energy to power around 63,000 homes in the state.

Once operational, it will be the largest utility-scale solar facility in the company’s portfolio.

Pharmaceutical company Charles River Laboratories International has signed a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 102MW of the project’s capacity.

The VPPA will provide green energy for Charles River’s entire electric power load in North America by 2023.

Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions president Chris Fallon said: “We’re excited to continue to grow our Texas solar portfolio, which will provide additional energy resources for the citizens of Texas to help meet their growing demand and need for more diverse energy infrastructure.

“This project demonstrates how we can address the community’s need for clean energy resources while providing unique sustainability solutions for customers like Charles River.”

Charles River environment, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability senior director Gregg Belardo said: “This VPPA is the first step toward our commitment to source fully renewable electricity worldwide by 2030.

“The benefits of the Pisgah Ridge Solar project move us substantially closer to achieving that goal.”

In addition to Charles River, two other undisclosed firms have signed 15-year VPPA agreements for the remaining 148MW of the Pisgah Ridge Solar project’s capacity.

Engineering and construction works for the project will be handled by construction company Moss.

Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions will own and operate the project upon completion, which is expected by the end of next year.

During its construction phase, the Pisgah Ridge Solar project will generate almost 300 jobs.

Last month, Duke Energy reported a net income of $992m for the first quarter of the year, compared to $938m in the same quarter of last year.

The company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.25 and adjusted EPS of $1.26, compared to $1.24 and $1.14 respectively a year earlier.