Duke Energy, a major utility company, has committed to investing $500 million in North Carolina solar power. The money will be spent on eight projects totaling 278 megawatts.

“This is Duke Energy’s largest single announcement for solar power and represents a 60 percent increase in the amount of solar power for our North Carolina customers. We are bringing large amounts of renewable energy onto our system in the most cost-effective way possible,” explained Rob Caldwell from Distributed Energy Resources.

Three solar installations will be implemented in Bladen, Duplin and Wilson counties with a total capacity of 128 MW. Duke Energy will own them.

The three are:

  • 65 MW Warsaw solar facility
  • 40 MW Elm City Solar facility
  • 23 MW Fayetteville solar facility.

Duke also signed five power purchase agreements for 150 MW of solar power.

Their investment will help keep North Carolina in a leading position for solar power. It is a top ten state in America for that form of clean energy and the leading state in the South.

The Charlotte-based company sent out requests for proposals for solar power development in February of 2014.

Duke Energy has acknowledged that American coal supplies will run out at some point. Handling and storing coal ash can also be difficult. The utility was cited this past spring for not storing it properly and faced fines as a result.

During the same season, one of the company’s plants consumed more energy than it generated. It might generally assumed that coal plants are only energy efficient, but that is not the case always.

Duke Energy should be commended for being open-minded and flexible enough to invest in solar power, because not all utilities are doing this, even though the cost of solar power has made it affordable.

We are currently in a huge state of transition in the way energy is made. Utilities that can adapt to clean energy technology are more sustainable businesses. They also provide better service to customers that want more solar and wind power.