I spoke to the CEO of a large solar leasing company recently, and asked him if his company would be coming to NC any time soon.
"Duke Energy", was all he said, as he shook his head. His face looked as if he'd said something decidedly unpleasant.
I never got around to asking him about the details of his animosity, but it was clear that he didn't see a favorable market for clean energy newcomers in NC any time soon. Nevertheless, renewable energy is beginning to get a foothold here in North Carolina. From Apple installing solar at its data center in Charlotte to Andy Griffiths' "Mayberry" going solar, there are tantalizing signs of a clean energy future emerging.
Duke Energy Renewables, part of Duke Energy's Commercial Businesses, purchased the portfolio of photovoltaic (PV) projects from ESA Renewables, LLC, which designed and built the generation sites. The portfolio consists of:
The 4,298-panel Murphy Farm Solar Project, which is sited on approximately eight acres of purchased land and achieved commercial operation in May.
The 4,340-panel Wingate Solar Project, which is sited on approximately seven acres of purchased land and achieved commercial operation in August.
The 4,242-panel Holiness Solar Project, which is sited on approximately nine acres of purchased land and achieved commercial operation in November.
So while solar leasing and other options for more decentralized, small-scale renewables may not be on the cards for NC just yet, it's good to see even the big utilities making some small steps toward a cleaner, more innovative future. With Duke Energy having already left the clean coal coalition, looked at funding decentralized solar on 850 homes, schools, factories and more, and exploring offshore wind turbines too, it has exhibited its potential to be a part of the solution.
But the time for baby steps is over. What comes next?