CHARLOTTE – Duke Energy continues to expand solar power in North Carolina with construction starting on its 22.6-megawatt (MW) Stony Knoll Solar power plant. Once completed, it will be the largest solar plant in Surry County.
The project will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions.* The project was selected as part of the competitive bidding process established by 2017’s solar legislation in North Carolina.
The solar plant will contain 76,600 Trina Solar bifacial modules with single-axis tracking. The plant will be located on 195 acres in Dobson, N.C. – near Rockford Road. The facility will power the equivalent of 5,000 homes. It is targeting commercial operation by the end of 2021.
“Duke Energy is bringing more carbon-free, renewable energy to customers in North Carolina. We’re pleased to add Surry County to our ever-growing list of solar locations as we significantly reduce carbon emissions on our path to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president.
Under North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy, proposed projects must be built where there is a need for energy capacity on the Duke Energy system in North Carolina or South Carolina. The bids can come from any company, including Duke Energy, and can be in the form of power purchase agreements (PPA), utility self-developed facilities or utility asset acquisitions.
“We’re pleased to continue to build upon the renewable energy resources in the state. The Stony Knoll solar project marks the third facility that we have announced in North Carolina this year and demonstrates our continued commitment to increasing clean energy generation in the state,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions.
During peak construction, Stony Knoll Solar will create about 70 jobs. Along with indirect economic benefits that accompany solar project development, such as increased local spending in the service and construction industries, Stony Knoll Solar will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing local tax revenues to the county and local school districts, as well as meaningful payments to the participating landowners.
Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions also supports the communities where its facilities and team members are based through the efforts of the Duke Energy Foundation. In January, the company awarded $10,000 to Copeland Elementary School in Dobson to fund the purchase of Chromebooks for students.
The facility’s design, procurement of inverters, balance of plant systems and construction of the project will be performed by Swinerton Renewable Energy. The energy generated by Stony Knoll will be delivered through a 20-year power purchase agreement with Duke Energy Carolinas.
A leader in renewable energy
Duke Energy maintains more than 3,700 MW of solar power on its energy grid in North Carolina, which could power about 700,000 homes and businesses at peak output. The company also operates more than 40 solar facilities in the state. North Carolina currently ranks No. 3 in the nation for overall solar power. With nuclear, hydro and renewable energy, more than half of North Carolina’s energy mix is carbon-free.
As one of the nation’s top renewable energy providers, Duke Energy plans to double its enterprisewide renewable portfolio from 8 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to 16 GW by the end of 2025.