Rays of hope: Solar energy expands in North Carolina

There’s a 107,000-watt solar-power plant operating in Benson, creating enough energy for 15 typical homes. But in the rundown of solar-energy plants and proposals in the state, the Benson project is the baby.

According to a profile of solar applications in today’s Winston Salem Journal, Duke Energy plans to install up to 850 solar panels across the state at a cost of $100 million. And Duke is partnering with SunEdison on a proposed 16-megawatt solar farm in Davison County — the largest in the country, expected to be operational in 2010. It would meet the demands of 2,600 homes.

Progress Energy is also getting in on the act, partnering with SunPower Corp. for a 1-megawatt solar farm in Cary. On a smaller scale, according to the Journal article, an individual solar water-heater system could lower residential utility bills by 30 percent.

Nelda Holder, associate editor


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