North Carolina — Duke Energy announced the start of construction of the 250-megawatt (MW) Pisgah Ridge Solar project in Navarro County, Texas.
Once in operation, it will be the largest utility-scale solar facility in Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions’ fleet.
Charles River Laboratories International Inc. (NYSE: CRL), a leading provider of critical research tools and integrated support services that enable innovative and efficient drug discovery and development, has signed a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 102 MW of the project over 15 years. This commitment will address the entirety of the company’s North American electric power load with clean, renewable energy by 2023.
“We’re excited to continue to grow our Texas solar portfolio, which will provide additional energy resources for the citizens of Texas to help meet their growing demand and need for a more diverse energy infrastructure,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. “This project demonstrates how we can address the community’s need for clean energy resources while providing unique sustainability solutions for customers like Charles River.”
“This VPPA is the first step toward our commitment to source 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030. The benefits of the Pisgah Ridge Solar project move us substantially closer to achieving that goal,” said Gregg Belardo, senior director of EHS & sustainability at Charles River.
Charles River was advised on the VPPA by Schneider Electric, who assisted the company in its project selection and negotiations.
Two other corporations have signed separate 15-year VPPA agreements for the remaining 148 MW of solar energy generated by the Pisgah Ridge Solar project. All three VPPAs associated with the site will settle on an as-generated basis tied to the project’s real-time energy output.
The engineering and construction for the project are being performed by Moss, while Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions will own and operate the project. The team expects to achieve commercial operation of Pisgah Ridge Solar by the end of 2022.
The project is expected to employ 200 to 300 workers at peak construction. Along with indirect economic benefits that accompany solar project development, such as increased local spending in the service and construction industries, the Pisgah Ridge Solar facility will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing significant tax revenues for the Corsicana Independent School District.
Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions currently operates nearly 1,500 MW of wind, 500 MW of solar and a 36 MW battery storage facility in Texas. The addition of the 250 MW Pisgah Ridge Solar facility, which will be located outside of Dallas, will generate enough energy to power approximately 63,000 additional residences in the state.
As one of the nation’s top renewable energy providers, Duke Energy plans to double its enterprise-wide renewable portfolio from 8 GW to 16 GW by the end of 2025.