Solar power has continued to grow in North Carolina in 2020, with more Duke Energy customers using solar power than ever before.
Driven by the company’s five-year, $62 million solar rebate program, which helps pay for the significant upfront costs of solar systems, about 5,500 Duke Energy customers installed private solar systems at their homes and businesses in 2020. Today, more than 18,000 Duke Energy customers have a private solar system. Almost 60% of the company’s generation in the Carolinas is carbon-free, with nuclear, solar and hydroelectric power being the leading sources of carbon-free generation.
“Our customers want more renewable energy and Duke Energy is making that a reality for them,” says Stephen De May, president of Duke Energy North Carolina. “We’re also connecting large-scale solar plants – owned and operated by Duke Energy and other developers.”
During 2020, Duke Energy connected almost 350 MW of solar power capacity. Major projects in 2020 included Duke Energy’s 69 MW Maiden Creek solar facility in Catawba County and the 25 MW Gaston County solar facility in Bessemer City.
Duke Energy owns and operates more than 40 solar facilities in North Carolina. The state is a national leader for solar power trailing only California and Texas in the amount of solar power produced. Overall, Duke Energy has more than 3,700 MW of solar energy connected to its energy grid in the state.
The outlook for future solar power in North Carolina looks promising. In 2020, Duke Energy and most of the major solar industry developers in the Carolinas agreed to a defined process and timeline by which a substantial additional amount of new solar generation will be connected to the company’s distribution system.
Duke Energy helped large customers go solar in 2020 with its Green Source Advantage program. Charlotte, Bank of America and Duke University are all pursuing new solar projects under the company’s program, which allows large energy users to negotiate directly with solar developers on independent solar projects.