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Duke Energy adds solar power

Duke Energy will add solar power to its commercial renewable energy portfolio through the acquisition of a solar electric facility under development in San Antonio, Texas.

Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS), the commercial businesses unit that owns and develops renewable power assets for the North Carolina firm, will purchase the Blue Wing Solar Project from juwi solar of Boulder, Colorado. The 14 MW facility will consist of 214,500 ground-mounted solar thin-film panels from First Solar.

The acquisition includes a 30-year power purchase agreement to sell all of the green power output and associated renewable energy credits to CPS Energy of San Antonio, one of the largest municipality-owned utilities in the USA. Construction will commence after the acquisition closes within the next two months and the 139-acre solar project is expected to be commissioned before the end of this year.

“Demand for power from renewable resources continues to rise,” says Keith Trent. “Our entry into the commercial solar power industry reaffirms Duke Energy’s commitment to generating emissions-free electricity for customers.”

Blue Wing will be the first commercial solar power project for the company. Duke Energy Carolinas, part of the regulated business, is installing solar electric panels on select business and residential rooftops as part of a US$50 million programme.

Looking for more opportunities

Although Duke Energy plans to wholly own the Blue Wing solar facility, the company continues to look for opportunities to jointly develop commercial solar power projects in the USA with ENN Group of China, pursuant to an agreement signed in October 2009. That agreement calls for construction of vast solar farms and locally distributed generation solar projects. ENN Solar Energy produces silicon thin film solar modules and operates China's first silicon thin-film photovoltaic module production line.

“Duke Energy’s acquisition of the Blue Wing Solar Project adds an exciting new dimension to our renewable power business,” adds Wouter van Kempen of DEGS. “We took our wind energy business from zero megawatts to more than 730 MW in under three years, so I’m very confident we can grow our solar power business.”

About Duke Energy

Duke Energy owns and operates 733 MW of commercial wind energy capacity, which will rise to 1 GW by the end of this year. In total, the company has committed US$1 billion since 2007 to build its wind energy business.

DEGS develops wind, solar and biopower projects. Headquartered in Charlotte, Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power companies with four million customers and 35 GW of generating capacity in the USA, natural gas distribution services and 4 GW of electric generation in Latin America.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Wind power