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Duke Energy wants to add green-energy projects in western North Carolina

Michal Bay, owner of the Merino Mill commercial development in Mooresville, stands among the 5,100 solar panels on the roof of the old Mooresville Mills plant. Energy from the panels is sold to Duke Energy.
Michal Bay, owner of the Merino Mill commercial development in Mooresville, stands among the 5,100 solar panels on the roof of the old Mooresville Mills plant. Energy from the panels is sold to Duke Energy.

Duke Energy said Monday it wants to add 400 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy in North Carolina, mainly in the regions west of Raleigh.

A request for proposals by Duke Energy Carolinas, the utility that serves Charlotte and the western half of the state, will help it meet the state’s 2007 green-energy mandate. The requirement for Duke is to generate 12.5 percent of retail sales through green energy or energy efficiency programs by 2021.

While the request is open to wind, biomass and gas, solar is by far the state’s dominant form of renewable energy. North Carolina ranks second in the nation for solar capacity.

Three-fourths of Duke’s solar capacity is in the Duke Energy Progress territory of eastern North Carolina. Monday’s request would bring more solar to the western half of the state.

The request for proposals seeks 750,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy. That’s about what 400 megawatts of solar capacity would generate in a year and, at peak capacity, could supply the needs of nearly 62,000 houses.

Duke said it would purchase power from independent producers, buy finished facilities or complete projects in the late stages of development. All projects have to be operating by the end of 2018. Duke said it would also buy renewable energy certificates representing energy generated by existing projects.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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