Duke Energy plans to add two more solar energy projects to its North Carolina power network next year, as it works to meet state requirements for clean electricity.
The company is asking the North Carolina Utilities Commission for permission to take over two projects already in development - a 60-megawatt solar farm in Monroe and a 15.4-megawatt facility in Mocksville, in Davie County.
If approved, construction on both would start in March and be done by the end of 2016.
Development of both solar projects was started by Charlotte’s Birdseye Renewables, which has worked with Duke before.
The proposed solar facility near Monroe would be on 400 acres at 2272 S. Rocky River Road, in Union County. Strata Solar, of Chapel Hill, will design and build the project.
The Mocksville solar farm would be on 110 acres at 197 Crawford Road. Crowder Construction of Charlotte will lead design and construction there.
Duke has announced a series of solar projects in the state this month, with state solar tax credits about to expire at year’s end.
The two latest projects would become part of Duke’s regulated electric power system in North Carolina. The company also faces a state mandate to shift at least 12.5 percent of its electricity production to renewable sources by 2021.
Duke is currently building four other major solar farms in the state totaling another 140 megawatts of capacity. Those are in Bladen, Duplin, Onslow and Wilson counties.
Meanwhile, a separate division of the company, Duke Energy Renewables, has also been constructing solar and wind farms, both in North Carolina and 11 other states. That division doesn’t supply consumers, but sells electricity to corporations, institutions, and other utilities. On Monday, the unit announced a major deal with Corning Inc. to sell power from a new solar farm in Conetoe, NC, east of Rocky Mount.
Altogether, Duke says it has invested more than $4 billion in wind and solar facilities in 12 states over the past 12 years. It has plans for another $3 billion in construction over the next five years.