Duke University Signs Up for 101 MW of Solar With Duke Energy
- Sep 24, 2020
Duke University has set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2024. As part of the plan to achieve this objective, the university became the first academic institution to sign a renewable power agreement under Duke Energy’s Green Source Advantage (GSA) program through which solar energy is further expanded in North Carolina.
The university presented in 2009 its Climate Action Plan, an initiative it updated last year with a goal of reducing on-campus emissions by 84 percent by 2024 and slashing the remaining emissions through investment in carbon offsets. The new agreement consists of 101 megawatts of solar capacity that is projected to result in a nearly 70 percent reduction in the university’s carbon emissions by 2022. Moreover, these 101 megawatts will meet half of the institution’s annual electricity demand.
The power will be generated at three solar facilities, which are yet to be built in the state by Pine Gate Renewables in partnership with Silver Pine Energy Holdings. The solar developments are anticipated to begin commercial operation in 2022.
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The GSA program builds upon North Carolina’s 2017 landmark solar legislation bill signed by Gov. Roy Cooper—the Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina—which proposed 2.6 gigawatts of solar energy to be built over three and a half years. The GSA enables large energy users to offset their power purchases by securing renewable energy from projects connected to Duke Energy’s grid. The customer is entitled to keep the RECs of the projects and use the energy purchases to satisfy the sustainability of carbon-free targets.
In addition to the GSA contract signed with Duke University, two other agreements have been announced this year—one with the City of Charlotte, which will buy the output from a 35-megawatt facility in Iredell County, and the other with Bank of America, which will buy the electricity generated by a 25-megawatt solar project planned by Silver Pine Energy Holdings.