A Chapel Hill solar energy developer is proposing a major solar farm in western North Carolina.
Strata Solar wants to build a 4.5 megawatt solar farm in Kings Mountain, according to an application filed today with the N.C. Utilities Commission. Building the project, about 200 miles west of Raleigh, will cost nearly $22 million and require nearly 22,000 solar panels. Federal and state subsidies will reduce the total project cost by more than half.
If approved by the utilities commission, it would be the second-largest solar farm in the state, after a 15.5 megawatt project in Davidson County that feeds into Duke Energy's power grid.
The biggest solar farm in the Triangle is a 2.2 megawatt project on the Cary campus of software developer SAS.
Strata Solar plans to sell the power it generates to Duke Energy under a 10-year contract, the filing says. The solar farm is expected to begin generating electricity in December.
Duke Energy, Progress Energy and other electric utilities are required to buy electricity from solar farms and other renewable energy producers under a 2007 state law mandating an increase in green energy and conservation. The cost of of renewable energy, just as the cost of conventional power generation, is passed on to customers in monthly utility bills.
The Strata Solar project would not be the state's second-biggest solar farm for long. Just last week the utilities commission received an application to build a 5 megawatt solar farm in western North Carolina. That facility would begin generating electricity in September 2012, less than a year after Strata Solar.