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Duke Energy to build Monroe solar farm

Duke energy's solar power lab in Catawba County tests different types of collectors, arrays and alignment mechanisms.
Duke energy's solar power lab in Catawba County tests different types of collectors, arrays and alignment mechanisms. jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com

Duke Energy plans to build one of North Carolina’s largest solar farms near Monroe and a second one in Davie County.

The 60-megawatt array will be on 400 acres on South Rocky River Road near Monroe and will be the third-largest of Duke’s solar farms in the state. Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar will build it.

A second farm with a capacity of 15.4 megawatts will be built on 110 acres in Mocksville, about 50 miles northeast of Charlotte. Crowder Construction of Charlotte will lead project engineering, procurement and construction.

Duke bought rights to both projects from Charlotte’s Birdseye Renewable Energy and will ask the North Carolina Utilities Commission to transfer state permits. Construction would begin in March and be completed by the end of 2016.

Duke Energy Carolinas, the utility that serves Charlotte, will own and operate the solar farms. The energy they produce will help Duke comply with the state’s green-energy mandate.

“As part of our solar expansion efforts in North Carolina, we will continue to seize opportunities to both develop as well as purchase projects that enable us to deliver more renewable energy to our customers,” Rob Caldwell, Duke’s senior vice president for distributed energy, said in a statement.

Duke is completing construction of 140 megawatts of solar capacity in Bladen, Duplin, Onslow and Wilson counties. North Carolina ranks fourth nationally for installed solar projects.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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