A developer has filed plans to install 620MW of PV generation capacity across 12 sites in the US state of North Carolina, with each power plant between 25MW and 80MW.
South Carolina news outlet The State reported that Innovative Solar Systems (ISS) has proposed the 12 new sites to utility Duke Energy. Under state rules, utilities must buy electricity generated by solar farms under 5MW capacity in size as a ‘standard offer’, at rates set by Duke Energy.
However ISS co-owner John Green told The State that the company wanted to build the power stations, most far larger than the 5MW ‘standard offer’ size, in order to benefit from economies of scale. Green pointed out that equipment could be sourced more cheaply while the company would enjoy fewer legal costs and soft costs.
If construction is to go ahead on the farms, according to the site, ISS will have to negotiate land leases, interconnections and power-purchase agreements (PPAs). In North Carolina, developers of power plants of over 5MW capacity need to negotiate PPAs with utilities over connection terms, unlike federal rules, which state utilities must buy electricity from power plants of up to 80MW.
In January, PV Tech reported that in what was a record-breaking 2013 for solar in the US, North Carolina surged to second in the national rankings, behind only California. Analysis firm Solarbuzz, which issued the rankings, said North Carolina’s strong showing was mostly due to activity in the utility-scale sector. Overall utility-scale plants accounted for 80% of a total 4.2GW of newly installed capacity in the US last year, Solarbuzz claimed.
News of the proposed ISS projects comes shortly after regional advocacy group North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association posted results of a poll on its website that showed 90% of survey respondents in the state supported the use of solar. Additionally the group wrote that “…83% of respondents think state leaders and elected officials should seek more renewable energy sources to provide consumers and businesses with affordable electricity.” The organisation cited the state’s “market-based clean energy policies” as a strong driver behind the growth in solar deployment.