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Charlotte Area News

Schools, gov't rooftops chosen for Duke's solar power program

Two schools, a dairy farm and a couple of government buildings are on the list of 10 sites where Duke Energy will install hundreds of solar panels. This is the second phase of the power company's ambitious plan to have 10 megawatts of solar up and running by year's end. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: The Lincoln County Charter School in Denver will have enough solar panels on its roof to power about 21 homes. Another 23 homes will be able to keep the lights on thanks to solar panels collecting sunlight in a field at Maple View Farms in Hillsborough. A Gaston County School building and a Charlotte Department of Transportation facility are also on the list of 10 organizations that have agreed to lease their rooftops to Duke Energy for 20 years. Duke will install and maintain the solar panels and pay the building owner a few thousand dollars a year as rooftop rent. Spokesman Jason Walls says Duke Energy was looking for visible locations to raise awareness about solar power. "These sites were selected based on the organizations interest in solar energy, their ready access to the grid and their solar potential and how their building was positioned and our ability to capture the sunlight and convert that into electricity," adds Walls. Earlier this year Duke Energy rolled out the first phase of its solar program, installing panels on four large warehouses in the region. Next, Walls says Duke Energy will experiment with putting solar panels on homes, most likely in Charlotte's McAlpine neighborhood. Utility companies in North Carolina are under a deadline to start generating more of their electricity from solar and other renewable sources.