Duke Energy Reaches 10,000-Megawatt Renewable Energy Milestone

  • Milestone demonstrates progress towards achieving net-zero goals by 2050.
  • Company commissions 144-MW Pflugerville Solar Facility in Texas.

PVTIME – With the 144-megawatt (MW) Pflugerville Solar facility coming online today, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) reached a significant milestone – it now owns, operates, or purchases more than 10,000 MW of solar and wind energy throughout the United States from both its regulated and nonregulated businesses.  

As one of the nation’s top renewable energy providers, Duke Energy’s renewables portfolio includes nearly 200 sites in 22 states, with over 1,000 megawatts of new projects under construction throughout the country, including Florida, Texas, and the Carolinas.

At peak output, the company’s current renewables portfolio capacity generates enough energy to serve the equivalent of approximately 2.4 million homes and businesses.

“Renewables are playing a major role as we make strong progress toward our ambitious climate goals of at least 50% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2050,” said Brian Savoy, Duke Energy’s executive vice president, chief strategy and commercial officer. “This next decade will be our biggest ever, and we’re well on our way to exceeding our decarbonization goals by growing our renewables portfolio to 16 GW by 2025 and 24 GW by 2030.”

In addition to carbon reduction and the benefits of creating a diverse energy infrastructure, solar and wind development fosters economic development and job creation in the areas that Duke Energy serves. Currently, Duke Energy employs nearly 700 wind and solar technicians, project developers, support staff, and third-party contract workers, as well as provides more than $29 million in annual lease payments to local landowners. Additionally, at peak construction, renewable energy development generates hundreds of jobs in the communities where our projects are located.

“For more than a decade, Duke Energy has been delivering low-cost renewable power to our customers,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. “These projects deliver significant economic and environmental benefits, while providing unique sustainability solutions for our customers and communities.”

Pflugerville Solar

Located in Travis County, Texas, the 144-MW Pflugerville Solar project is the fifth utility scale solar facility that Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions,* a nonregulated commercial brand of Duke Energy, has placed in commercial operation in the state. Earlier this year, it also announced the construction of a sixth solar facility, the 250-MW Pisgah Ridge Solar project in Navarro County, Texas, which is expected to achieve commercial operation by the end of 2022.

The energy generated from the Pflugerville Solar project will be sold to Austin Energy under a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

Austin Energy, the city of Austin’s electric utility, serves more than 528,000 customer accounts and more than 1 million residents in Greater Austin. This PPA supports Austin Energy’s renewable energy goals.

“We currently meet about 70% of our customers’ energy needs with carbon-free resources,” said Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent. “Adding the Pflugerville Solar project to our portfolio will bring us closer to meeting our affordability and climate protection goals adopted by the Austin City Council and championed by our customers.”

Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions acquired the project from Recurrent Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ), in December 2020.

The 932-acre site, which contains approximately 489,600 Canadian Solar high-efficiency bifacial BiKu modules, will generate enough energy to power approximately 27,000 homes.

The engineering and construction for the project were performed by Signal Energy, and Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions will provide long-term operations and maintenance services to the project.

During peak construction, the project employed 350 workers, with at least 50% of those construction jobs filled by local skilled tradesmen from the Travis County area. Along with indirect economic benefits that accompany solar project development, such as increased local spending in the service and construction industries, Pflugerville Solar will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing significant tax revenues for Travis County and the Elgin Independent School District.

Looking ahead

Duke Energy has set a goal of reaching 16,000 MW of renewables by 2025 and 47,000 MW by 2050.

Renewable energy projects currently under development in the company’s regulated and nonregulated footprint include:

ProjectMegawattsLocationIn-service date
Broad River Solar*50 MWCleveland County, N.C.End of 2021
Stony Knoll Solar*22.6 MWSurry County, N.C.End of 2021
Speedway Solar*22.6 MWCabarrus County, N.C.End of 2021
Woodfin Solar5 MWBuncombe County, N.C.End of 2021
Duette Solar74.5 MWManatee County, Fla.End of 2021
Charlie Creek Solar74.9 MWHardee County, Fla.End of 2021
Bay Trail Solar74.9 MWCitrus County, Fla.Early 2022
Fort Green Solar74.9 MWHardee County, Fla.Early 2022
Sandy Creek Solar74.9 MWBay County, Fla.Mid-2022
Bay Ranch Solar74.9 MWBay County, Fla.End of 2022
 Hardeetown Solar74.9 MWLevy County, Fla.End of 2022
Hildreth Solar74.9 MWSuwannee County, Fla.End of 2022
Pisgah Ridge Solar*250 MWNavarro County, TexasEnd of 2022
High Springs Solar74.9Alachua County, Fla.Early 2023

* Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions operated/owned projects.