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North Carolina Solar Distributed Generation Evolving Around the Sun

Duke Energy's solar distributed generation program is up and running in North Carolina. We've installed solar panels on the rooftops and grounds of numerous homes, schools and businesses – enough to power 1,300 homes.

Kimberly-Clark

Kimberly-Clark
Location
32 Smyth Ave
Hendersonville, NC 28792
Date Commissioned
Oct. 27, 2010
System Size
83 kilowatts
Annual Generation
120,404 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
361
Physical Size
9,960 square feet

Kimberly-Clark is a consumer-products company that manufactures brands like Kleenex and Huggies. It's also a company that's committed to sustainable operations. New solar panels installed on the roof of its Henderson, N.C., mill align with Kimberly-Clark's aggressive energy and sustainability goals.

"This project demonstrates our commitment to the community and the state of North Carolina," said John Bruce, manager at the Kimberly-Clark Henderson Mill. "As a company, Kimberly-Clark is devoted to renewable energy as a way to reduce our nation's reliance on fossil fuels."

Thomas Built Buses

Location
1408 Courtesy Rd
High Point, NC 27260
Date Commissioned
Dec. 15, 2010
System Size
388.6 kilowatts
Annual Generation
557,878 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
1,689
Physical Size
46,632 square feet

Based in High Point, N.C., Thomas Built Buses is committed to a cleaner world. That's why the company offers hybrid and alternative-fuel buses, and adheres to sustainable manufacturing practices. Thomas Built's philosophy is what made it a perfect fit for Duke Energy's solar generation program.

Siemens

Location
5101 Westinghouse Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28273
Date Commissioned
Oct. 20, 2010
System Size
54.74 kilowatts
Annual Generation
74,077 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
238
Physical Size
6,569 square feet

Siemens is an engineering conglomerate that employs over 400,000 workers in nearly 190 countries. In Charlotte, the company designs and manufactures turbines and generators for nuclear, coal and gas-fired power plants. Siemens' Charlotte facility now generates electricity, too. Duke Energy recently installed 238 solar panels on the roof of Siemens' facility in southwest Charlotte.

"North Carolina has become a hub for energy companies," said Mark Pringle, director of operations for Siemens Energy. "It's also a hub for progressive energy programs. That's why Siemens chose to be involved with Duke Energy's solar initiative."

National Gypsum

National Gypsum
Location
1725 Drywall Drive
Mt. Holly, NC 28120
Date Commissioned
Feb. 2, 2010
System Size
1,208 kilowatts
No. of Solar Panels
5,252
Physical Size
144,960 square feet

National Gypsum is a leader in wallboard production. And the company is out in front when it comes to sustainable business practices, too.

With solar panels installed on the roof of its manufacturing plant in Mount Holly, N.C., National Gypsum feeds clean energy, generated by the sun, into Duke Energy's power grid.

"The solar project is a new chapter in our green ventures," said Tom Nelson, CEO of National Gypsum. "We're proud to be a partner in Duke Energy's efforts to create a sustainable future."

McAlpine Residential

McAlpine Residential
Location
Southeast Charlotte
Date Commissioned
November and December 2010
System Size
2.3 kilowatts per home
Annual Generation
3,000 kilowatt-hours per home
No. of Solar Panels
10 panels per home
Physical Size
276 square feet per home

Watch "Powering the grid: Homeowners' motivation"

Watch "Powering the grid: Steps to installing a residential solar panel system"


The McAlpine area in south Charlotte is a hub for smart grid pilot programs, which makes it ideal for a residential solar panel initiative. Duke Energy installed panels on the roofs of seven homes in the area. Combined, the project's output is about16 kilowatts.

"The rooftop solar program is important to me because it represents our society's commitment to future generations," said Thomas Friend, a Duke Energy customer. "Our children are seeing – first hand – the practical measures that we make on a personal level for responsible, green living. This is a proof-of-concept project. We've done it and other people can do it, too."

McAlpine Ground-Mount

McAlpine Ground Mount
Location
7210 Pineville-Matthews Road
Pineville, NC 28226
Date Commissioned
2009-2010
System Size
50 kilowatts
Annual Generation
71,892 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
218
Physical Size
6,000 square feet

The McAlpine area in south Charlotte is a hub for smart grid pilot programs, so it was a simple decision to add ground-mounted solar panels to an existing Duke Energy site in the area. The electricity generated by the panels is enough to power five average-sized homes.

"McAlpine is a key laboratory where we can study smart grid technology in a real-life application," said David Mohler, Duke Energy's chief technology officer. "We plan to launch similar installations throughout our system in the future."

Marshall Steam Station

Location
8320 East Hwy 150
Terrell, NC 28682
Date Commissioned
Dec. 15, 2010
System Size
950 kilowatts
Annual Generation
1,557,171 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
3,535
Physical Size
114,000 square feet

Marshall Steam Station serves nearly 2 million homes, and has been among the most efficient power plants in the nation since it was built in 1965. The facility recently received a boost in its electricity output, thanks to the installation of over 3,500 ground-mounted solar panels.

"Our plant has been vital to families and businesses in the Carolinas for over 45 years," said Steve Immel, manager of the Marshall Steam Station. "As we look forward, the entire Marshall team is excited to be a part of a future of affordable, reliable and cleaner energy."

Lincoln Charter School

Lincoln Charter School
Location
7876 Galway Ln
Denver, NC 28037
Date Commissioned
Aug. 13, 2010
System Size
161 kilowatts
Annual Generation
211,892 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
700
Physical Size
19,320 square feet

Lincoln Charter School's recently upgraded facility in Denver, N.C., serves more than 500 students in middle and high school. The public, tuition-free and nonprofit charter school features state-of-the-art computer facilities, high-tech chemistry lab and vast athletic fields. The school has an additional feature that's a bit out-of-sight for students – 700 solar panels.

"We teach our students to be responsible citizens," said Dave Machado. "The clean energy that's generated at our school presents students with a unique lesson in sustainability, one that will impact them for life."

Liberty Hardware

Location
390 Business Park Drive
Winston Salem, NC 27107
Date Commissioned
Sept. 1, 2010
System Size
312.34 kilowatts
Annual Generation
406,833 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
1,358
Physical Size
37,481 square feet

One of the core values of Liberty Hardware is innovation. And this value extends beyond the company's high-quality hardware. In fact, it extends up – to the company's roof. The Winston-Salem-based company recently unveiled its roof-top solar panels – all 1,358 of them.

Highwoods Properties

Highwoods Properties
Location
2085 Brigham Road
Greensboro, NC 27409
Date Commissioned
April 1, 2010
System Size
1,495 kilowatts
No. of Solar Panels
6,500
Physical Size
179,400 square feet

Highwoods Properties' Enterprise Park II is a modern building in a state-of-the-art industrial park. So why not have a high-tech, high-performance roof as well? Ask and you shall receive.

"We're participating in Duke Energy's solar program because it benefits our community and our state," said Steve Dixon, Highwoods' corporate manager of building operations. "The building offered a large area that fit nicely into the program. And it's a win-win for everyone – Highwoods, Duke Energy, the community and the environment."

Gaston County Schools

Location
500 Reid Street
Lowell, NC 28098
Date Commissioned
May 7, 2010
System Size
70.84 kilowatts
Annual Generation
93,233 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
308
Physical Size
8,501 square feet

Gaston County Schools' 55 neighborhood schools serve nearly 30,000 meals a day. That's more than 5 million meals each school year! The center of this vast operation is the district's nutrition building, which recently began serving a second important purpose: power provider. Over 300 solar panels were installed on the building's roof in 2010, bringing clean energy to the City of Lowell, N.C.

"We try to take an aggressive approach to being green, and this was an opportunity to explore it," said Gaston County Schools' deputy of operations, Jeff Booker. "The renewable energy will benefit our district, students and communities for years to come."

Freightliner

Location
11550 Statesville Blvd
Cleveland, NC 27013
Date Commissioned
Dec. 29, 2010
System Size
358.8 kilowatts
Annual Generation
514,743 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
1,612
Physical Size
43,056 square feet

Freightliner's manufacturing plant in Cleveland, N.C., is the company's largest, producing Class 8 trucks, better known as tractor-trailers. The new solar panels mounted on top of the company's facility complement its overall goal, which is to produce safer, more fuel efficient and more productive vehicles of tomorrow.

City of Charlotte

Location
4411 Northpointe Industrial Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28216
Date Commissioned
Aug. 19, 2010
System Size
112.7 kilowatts
Annual Generation
148,325 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
490
Physical Size
13,524 square feet

The Charlotte, N.C., region is a hotbed for the development of renewable energy technologies. And the City of Charlotte is doing its part to support the industry. In addition to building a solar energy system on an urban parking deck, city officials recently worked with Duke Energy to install solar panels on the roof of a new street maintenance facility.

Childress Klein Properties

Childress Klein Properties
Location
6935 Reames Road
Charlotte, NC 28216
Date Commissioned
Jan. 29, 2010
System Size
532 kilowatts
No. of Solar Panels
2,314
Physical Size
63,864 square feet

The roof of Childress Klein Properties' new industrial building in Charlotte has a unique look. More than 2,300 solar panels – enough to cover a football field and two end zones – on the building's roof harness the power of the sun to generate clean energy.

"We are a development company with employees who live and work in the communities we serve," said Chris Daly, a partner in the company's industrial division. "Our partnership with Duke Energy helps address our communities' growing need for energy, in a way that is environmentally responsible."

Childress Klein – Old Dowd Road

Childress Klein Properties
Location
10240 Old Dowd Road
Charlotte, NC 28208
Date Commissioned
Oct. 15, 2010
System Size
2,171.2 kilowatts
Annual Generation
2,860,546 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
9,440
Physical Size
260,544 square feet

Childress Klein Properties was the first company to participate in Duke Energy's solar program in 2010, generating over 500 kW in north Charlotte. The company saw the benefits of the program, and chose to commit a second property – an industrial building in west Charlotte – to the renewable energy program. This second property is much larger than the first, and has four times the generating capacity.

"As a property management company, we have an obligation to our tenants and our communities," said Chris Daly, a partner in the company's industrial division. "Our partnership with Duke Energy ensures that we're doing what we can to contribute to a future of cleaner electricity."

Carrier Center

Carrier Center
Location
900 Center Park Dr
Charlotte, NC 28217
Date Commissioned
Nov. 3, 2010
System Size
528.08 kilowatts
Annual Generation
695,007 kilowatt-hours
No. of Solar Panels
2,296
Physical Size
63,370 square feet

The Carrier Center, an industrial building located in Charlotte's Coffey Creek Business Park, recently found a new tenant – over 2,000 solar panels. The panels didn't move into the facility, but rather were installed on the building's roof. With a capacity of over 500 kilowatts, the project can power 65 average-sized homes.

"Not only do the solar panels generate electricity, they keep the building's roof cooler, which reduces our tenants' energy costs," said Arthur Yessayan, Managing Partner. "It's a win-win-win situation, for the Carrier Center, Duke Energy and our tenants."

Food Lion

Food Lion
Location
2085 Harrison Road
Salisbury, NC 28147
Date Commissioned
May 4, 2010
System Size
1,090 kilowatts
No. of Solar Panels
4,746
Physical Size
130,800 square feet

Food Lion works to stay ahead of the curve by offering customers new and varied products in its stores. The company's distribution center in Salisbury, N.C., is ahead of the times, too. Nearly 5,000 solar panels sit on top of the building, generating enough power for the equivalent of 140 homes.

"We launched our energy conservation efforts more than a decade ago", said Kyle Mitchell, vice president of Food Lion store development. "Since then, our businesses have reduced energy consumption by more than 2.6 trillion BTUs. Food Lion is an industry leader in alternative energy, and we're excited to be part of the future of energy."

Maple View Agricultural Center

Maple View Agricultural Center
Location
3501 Dairyland Rd
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Date Commissioned
Sept. 1, 2010
System Size
180.32 kilowatts
Annual Generation
259,270 kilowatt-hours
View Solar Energy Output
No. of Solar Panels
784
Physical Size
21,638 square feet

Watch "Growing Solar at Maple View Farms"


The Maple View Agricultural Center continually dedicates resources to agricultural education, preservation and sustainability in Orange County. The organization is also committed to renewable and sustainable energy in North Carolina. That's why they partnered with Duke Energy to build a ground-mounted solar farm. Duke also dedicated a solar energy classroom with a learning kiosk at the Center, so visitors can learn about the solar system and see what energy is being generated. (See above link for Solar Energy Output)

"We wanted to teach our visitors about environmental issues, conservation and renewable energy," said Allison Nichols, Maple View's chief operating officer. "This project helps us reach kids at a young enough age to impress upon them ways to benefit the community and the environment."

EPA – Learning Center

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Location
109 T.W. Alexander Dr
Durham, NC 27711
Date Commissioned
April 1, 2010
System Size
109.5 kilowatts
No. of Solar Panels
476
Physical Size
13,140 square feet

Learn more about the project in this video


The First Environments Early Learning Center is a high-quality, full-time child care center for the children of EPA employees. Students recently began learning an important lesson in renewable energy when solar panels were installed on the center's roof.

"We are extremely proud and honored to partner with Duke Energy," said Sam Pagan, the EPA's North Carolina site energy manager. "Together, we're providing our children the opportunity to learn about sustainable living and what they can do to ensure a sustainable future."

Program Overview

In 2009, Duke Energy launched its solar power initiative in North Carolina. The $42 million, 10-megawatt (MW) program is now among the nation's largest distributed generation demonstrations. With distributed generation, electricity is produced at many micro-generating sites rather than at a large, centralized, traditional power plant.

We believe that partnering with sites in our communities helps build a broader understanding of solar energy and distributed generation.

Site Selection

The solar program comprises 25 sites in North Carolina, including homes, schools, businesses and more. Each was selected based on the landowner's interest in solar energy, the site's proximity to the electrical grid and its solar potential.

Duke Energy owns and maintains the solar components, as well as the electricity generated. In return, property owners receive annual rental fees for use of their roofs or land.

Renewable Energy Standard

Duke Energy developed its solar program in response to North Carolina's renewable energy standard, which was adopted in 2007. The mandate requires utilities to meet at least 12.5 percent of its North Carolina customers' electricity needs through new renewable energy sources or energy efficiency measures by 2021.

Our company is well on its way to meeting this goal. In addition to this solar program, we offer many products and services that enable customers to help achieve the state standard.

More Solar in N.C. and Texas

We're actively involved in other solar projects, too:

  • Duke Energy owns 1-MW commercial solar farms in Taylorsville and Shelby, N.C.
  • Duke Energy buys 4 MW of electricity from an independently owned solar farm in Davidson County, N.C. At the time it was built in 2011, it was the state’s largest solar farm.
  • Duke Energy owns Texas' largest solar farm – a 14-MW commercial PV facility in San Antonio.

Learn more by viewing our frequently asked questions about the solar distributed generation program.