In North Carolina, solar energy continued to grow in 2020. More Duke Energy customers are using solar energy than ever before.
In 2020, approximately 5,500 Duke Energy customers installed private solar systems in their homes and businesses as a result of the company's $ 62 million five-year solar rebate program, which helps cover the significant up-front costs of solar systems. Today more than 18,000 Duke Energy customers have a private solar system. Nearly 60% of the company's production in the Carolinas is carbon-free, with nuclear, solar, and hydropower being the main sources for carbon-free generation.
“Our customers want more renewable energy, and Duke Energy is making it happen for them,” said Stephen De May, President of Duke Energy North Carolina. “We're also connecting large solar systems owned and operated by Duke Energy and other developers.”
In 2020 Duke Energy connected a solar power capacity of almost 350 MW. Key projects in 2020 included Duke Energy's 69 MW Maiden Creek solar plant in Catawba County and Gaston County's 25 MW solar plant in Bessemer City.
Duke Energy owns and operates more than 40 solar plants in North Carolina. The state is a national leader in solar energy, lagging only California and Texas in terms of the amount of solar energy produced. In total, Duke Energy has more than 3,700 MW of solar energy connected to the state's electrical grid.
The prospects for future solar energy in North Carolina are promising. In 2020, Duke Energy and most of the major solar industry developers in the Carolinas agreed on a defined process and schedule to add a significant additional amount of new solar energy to the company's distribution system.
Duke Energy helped large customers run solar with its Green Source Advantage program in 2020. Charlotte, Bank of America and Duke University are pursuing new solar projects under the company's program that will allow large energy consumers to negotiate directly with solar developers on independent solar projects.