A new project in Fayetteville, N.C., is being touted as North Carolina’s first municipal community solar project.
The 1 MW, 3,384-panel facility is located adjacent to Fayetteville Public Works Commission’s (PWC) Butler-Warner Generation Plant in northeast Cumberland County. The project, which also includes battery storage, is expected to produce 1.5 million kWh annually.
The community solar project will allow residential and commercial electric customers to pay a one-time enrollment fee of $20 for the first panel and then $10 for each additional panel. Customers will be allowed up to five panels. After enrollment, they will receive a monthly solar credit on their bill of $2.51 for their $1.53 monthly per-panel investment.
The $1.6 million project is funded by the participating customers’ subscription fees and helps PWC meet its renewable energy requirements.
“The PWC community solar project gives our customers the ability to take advantage of solar energy without having to make the investment of putting solar panels on their roof,” comments David Trego, PWC’s CEO and general manager. “This opens up participation in this sustainable and carbon-free energy source to all PWC customers, including those who are in rental properties or are in the military, who otherwise might not think they could get involved.”
PWC developed the community solar project with assistance from the North Carolina State Clean Energy Technology Center (NCSCETC). Through a federal grant, NCSCETC conducted a feasibility study for PWC.
Dewberry served as the general contractor, and Fayetteville’s Horne Brothers Construction Inc. and Directional Services Inc. built the solar array and provided electrical contracting services.
“The project is designed to be financially self-sustaining from those who participate and will break even over its projected 25-year life,” adds Trego. “So, in the end, no general ratepayer dollars will be used in the project, and it will not have any impact on customer rates.”