Charlotte, NC – The City of Durham, Durham County Government, and Durham Public Schools (DPS) are the latest customers to benefit from Duke Energy’s Green Source Advantage (GSA) program.
The three customers will collectively purchase almost 35 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity from a proposed solar facility located in Northeast Alamance County. The project, originated by Durham-based Carolina Solar Energy, will be developed, owned and operated by Pine Gate Renewables, and is subject to local and state approvals. The project is expected to become operational by the end of 2025.
“Our municipal and large energy users are looking to expand renewable power in their energy mix. Many are finding Duke Energy’s Green Source Advantage program the perfect fit to accomplish that,” said Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy’s North Carolina state president. “We have designed it to be flexible and allow customers to modify it to meet their specific needs.”
GSA supports solar energy development throughout North Carolina and helps participants meet renewable energy goals.
Originally launched in 2017, the GSA program has been used by other customers such as the City of Charlotte, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke University. This is the first time multiple customers have joined together in one GSA project.
“This project is critical to the success of our Carbon Neutrality and Renewable Energy Action Plan, but it also means progress toward our goals to bring cleaner air and a healthier environment to our Durham community,” said City of Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal.
The city and county have goals to power operations and facilities with 80% renewable energy sources by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
“The Green Source Advantage program is the project with the single-largest impact on meeting our renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions goals,” said Durham County Board of Commissioners Chair Brenda Howerton. “In addition to the environmental benefits, we are able to pay for the project as the clean energy is generated, avoiding the need for loans or bonds. That aligns with the county’s fiscal responsibility.”
This renewable energy project will offset approximately 50% of the city’s, 75% of the county’s, and 10% of DPS’s electricity consumption with clean, emission-free solar power. According to the U.S. EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, once built, the solar facility will avoid the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are sequestered or absorbed by more than 61,500 acres of U.S. forests in one year.
“We’re happy to be a part of this public-private partnership,” said DPS Building Services Executive Director Fredrick Davis. “Participation in this initiative will reduce our carbon footprint and improve our everyday energy usage. In our efforts to be a part of the county’s 2030 plan, this is one step toward our overall sustainability goals for DPS.”
“Pine Gate Renewables is pleased to work in partnership with Duke Energy to help the City of Durham, Durham County, and Durham Public Schools achieve their renewable energy goals,” said Ben Catt, CEO of Pine Gate Renewables. “As a North Carolina-based company now doing business across the country, we are proud to develop solar sites locally to create positive impacts in communities where our employees live, work and visit.”
The GSA program allows large customers to offset their power purchases by securing renewable energy from projects connected to the Duke Energy grid. The customer may keep the renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated by the projects to satisfy sustainability or renewable energy goals. The customers are credited for the solar power the facility generates against their energy purchased from the Duke Energy grid.
Duke Energy is leading the largest clean energy transformation in the United States. It maintains more than 4,600 MW of solar power on its energy grid in the Carolinas. That could power the annual usage of almost 1 million homes and businesses. North Carolina currently ranks No. 4 in the nation for overall solar power. Duke Energy operates more than 45 solar facilities in the Carolinas. With a portfolio of nuclear, hydro and renewable energy, more than half of the company’s energy mix in North Carolina is carbon-free.
About Pine Gate Renewables
Pine Gate Renewables is a leading renewable energy company focused on development and strategic financing of solar and storage projects throughout the United States. From coast to coast, Pine Gate Renewables owns and operates renewable energy-generating projects that create a positive impact on local communities and the nation’s environmental footprint. Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., Pine Gate Renewables debuted at #37 on the Inc. 5000 list in 2021 and was named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list the same year. For more information, visit pinegaterenewables.com.
About Carolina Solar Energy
Carolina Solar Energy is a woman-owned business based in Durham that completed the initial development work on the solar project starting in 2018. Carolina Solar Energy was founded in 2004 by Richard Harkrader, who has lived in Durham with his wife Lonna since the 1970’s and was one of the early pioneers of solar energy in North Carolina. Richard played a pivotal role in the passage of North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) in 2007, and North Carolina remains the only state in the Southeast to have such a standard. The REPS helped propel North Carolina to one of the top states in the country in installed solar power. Richard’s daughter, Carson Harkrader, took over Carolina Solar Energy from him in 2018 and led the development of the project that will sell power to Durham.
About Duke Energy
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emission targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030, 50% for Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 upstream and downstream emissions by 2035, and 80% from electric generation by 2040. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.