Progress Energy announced another major solar farm today as the Raleigh electric utility expands its reliance on green energy throughout the state.
The latest power plant that turns sunshine into electricity is at the city of Raleigh water treatment plant. The facility is home to a 250-kilowatt solar facility whose power output is equivalent to the usage of 22 typical homes.
The solar farm at the municipal E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant was built and is operated by Carolina Solar Energy, a renewable energy developer in Durham. Progress Energy buys the electricity to comply with a 2007 state law that requires power companies to increase their reliance on green energy.
Carolina Solar Energy has signed a 20-year lease with Raleigh that gives the city the option to buy the solar array in the future.
Progress is buying electricity from several large-scale solar farms in the state, including the SAS software campus in Cary, a business complex near Roxboro and one built at Progress's power plant complex near Wilmington.
It takes four 250-kilowatt solar farms to generate 1 megawatt of electricity. Currently Progress has 3.3 megawatts of solar power under contract and generating power. The company has 6.1 megawatts under development. For contrast, Progress Energy's Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Wake County has a capacity of 900 megawatts.