CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy continues to move up the solar energy charts.
In the recent Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) utility rankings, Duke Energy was ranked eighth among holding companies in the United States for total solar capacity. Among individual utilities, Duke Energy Progress in North Carolina and South Carolina was ranked eighth nationally for its annual increase in solar.
You can view the entire report here.
SEPA reported that Duke Energy's regulated utilities have 183 megawatts of capacity available for its customers. That figure is roughly half of the capacity of the company's coal-fired Lee Steam Station in South Carolina.
"These rankings reflect the efforts Duke Energy has made to incorporate solar energy into our generation mix in the six states we serve," said Rob Caldwell, vice president, wholesale power and renewable generation. "Solar will continue to be a growing part of our energy mix. However, due to the variable nature of solar, Duke Energy will still need generation capacity fueled by nuclear, coal and gas to meet our customers' energy needs."
In Duke Energy's regulated areas, the company purchases most of its solar capacity from other companies to comply with regulatory guidelines set forth by the various states.
"As solar becomes a bigger part of our energy mix, we will need to make sure the rules in our regulated states treat all customers fairly and that solar is a sustainable part of our energy portfolio," added Caldwell. "Widespread use of solar is still new in our area and there are complexities that need to be addressed."
Outside of its regulated areas, Duke Energy owns more than 100 megawatts of commercial utility-scale solar capacity through its subsidiary Duke Energy Renewables.
Duke Energy Renewables began developing solar facilities in 2009 and today owns 15 solar power projects in five states -- Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina and Texas. This power is being sold to other utilities, municipalities and businesses. To avoid regulatory concerns, Duke Energy Renewables has not sold power directly to Duke Energy's regulated utilities.
Through a partnership with Integrys Energy, Duke Energy Renewables also has developed about 15 megawatts of rooftop and ground-mounted distributed solar installations in five states.
"Renewable energy continues to grow across the U.S. as technology improves and costs decline," said Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf. "We see a healthy market for solar energy in the future and Duke Energy will be an active participant."
In 2012, more than 30 percent of Duke Energy's electricity to serve retail customers was generated from carbon-free sources, which included nuclear, hydro, solar and wind. You can read more about the company's generation in Duke Energy's Sustainability Report.
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States with more than $110 billion in total assets. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.2 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.