Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions, an unregulated trademark of Duke Energy, has started construction on the 250 MW Pisgah Ridge solar project in Navarro County, Texas. When commissioned, it will be the largest utility-scale solar system in the Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions fleet.
Charles River Laboratories Int. Inc., a provider of critical research tools and integrated support services that enable drug discovery and development, has signed a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 102 MW of the project over 15 years. This commitment will meet all of the company's North American electricity needs with renewable energy by 2023.
“We are excited to continue expanding our Texas solar portfolio, which will provide Texas citizens with additional energy resources to meet their growing demands and needs for a more diverse energy infrastructure,” said Chris Fallon, President of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. “This project shows how we can meet the community's need for clean energy resources while delivering sustainability solutions to customers like Charles River.”
Two other companies have signed separate 15-year VPPA contracts for the remaining 148 MW of solar power generated by the Pisgah Ridge Solar project. All three VPPAs connected to the site are billed based on generation, which is tied to the project's real-time energy output.
Engineering and construction for the project will be carried out by Moss, while Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions will own and operate the project. The team expects to reach commercial operation of Pisgah Ridge Solar by the end of 2022.
The project is expected to employ 200 to 300 workers at peak times. In addition to the indirect economic benefits associated with the development of solar projects, such as For example, if there is increased local spending in the service and construction industries, the Pisgah Ridge Solar facility will also have a positive impact on the local community by providing significant tax revenue for the Corsicana Independent School District.
Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions currently operates nearly 1,500 MW wind, 500 MW solar and 36 MW battery storage in Texas. Charles River was advised on the VPPA by Schneider Electric, who assisted the company in project selection and negotiations.