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Duke Energy adds biggest solar plant in San Francisco to its renewables portfolio

22 August 2013
Duke Energy adds biggest solar plant in San Francisco to its renewables portfolio

NEW YORK: Duke Energy has bought the biggest solar project in San Francisco, a move that signifies the company’s continued commitment to renewables as well as solar’s potential to attract powerful investors.

Duke Energy Renewables, which is a commercial business unit of Duke Energy Corp, America’s largest electric power holding company and member of The Climate Group, has acquired a 4.5 megawatt solar project in San Francisco, California.

City services

Greg Wolf, President, Duke Energy Renewables, said in the company's statement: “With the addition of this project, we continue to grow our solar footprint in California. As this asset continues to contribute to the state and city’s renewable energy goals for years to come, we look forward to being a positive presence in this community.”

Power generated by the ‘Sunset Reservoir’ plant will be purchased by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission over a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Harlan L. Kelly Jr., general manager, SFPUC, said in a statement: “The Sunset Reservoir solar project more than tripled San Francisco’s municipal solar generating capacity. The renewable, greenhouse gas-free energy from Sunset Reservoir and all of our other facilities help power public buses, the San Francisco International Airport, health clinics, and other vital city services.”

Mainstream renewables

The solar project, which is made up of 24,000 panels, was bought from solar project developer Recurrent Energy.

Arno Harris, CEO, Recurrent Energy, commented: “This agreement with Duke Energy Renewables shows the continued movement of solar into mainstream power. Their investment in the Sunset Reservoir project further shows solar’s ability to attract capital from conventional energy investors.”

Duke Energy Renewables is a leader in developing innovative wind and solar energy generation projects in the US and has invested more than US$3 billion since 2007 in US solar, according to the project statement. The purchase adds to the company’s portfolio of 16 solar farms, which together produce more than 100 megawatts of generating capacity.

The company also invests heavily in wind, owning over 15 wind projects which total more than 1.7 gigawatts in electric-generating capacity.

California leadership

San Francisco is the leading financial center of Northern California, a state which has long been committed to clean energy. Last month, it was revealed that California and 11 other states currently provide 85% of America’s solar power.

Amy Davidsen, US Executive Director, The Climate Group, comments: “California’s clean energy leadership continues to speed ahead, thanks to investment from the country’s biggest businesses, such as Duke Energy. Having invested more than US$3 billion in US solar over the past seven years, it is clear Duke Energy will remain a strong and competitive leader in the race to seize the opportunity of the fast-growing renewables industry in America.”

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America has record year for renewables, with California ranked top clean tech state

New York solar projects get $54 million through Governor Cuomo initiative

Maryland providing affordable, reliable energy for local economies with SolarCity partnership

By Clare Saxon

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