Duke Energy is calling for solar companies to bid on its planned $100 million distributed rooftop solar project in North Carolina. The power company says interested parties can check out this section of its web site and click on “North Carolina Solar Distributed Generation Program” to submit a proposal.
Distributed solar projects are a growing trend for utilities and power companies that are trying to meet state renewable portfolio standards quickly. North Carolina has a renewable portfolio standard that goes into effect in 2012 and will require utilities to generate 12.5 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2021. Currently Duke generates some 70 percent of its power from coal, making it one of the top consumers of coal in the United States.
Duke’s solar rooftop project will start with an initial 850 rooftop and ground installations that will be plugged into the power grid at a total of 16 MW, which is enough to power 2,600 homes. The utility plans to start building it next year, but is still waiting for approval from North Carolina regulators. Duke will own the systems and install and maintain them through contractors.
Duke said in May that it would be building out a solar rooftop program, just a few months after utility Southern California Edison announced plans in March to invest $875 million in 250 megawatts of solar covering some 2 square miles of rooftops.