Duke Energy has put out a call to renewable energy developers for new projects in the western part of the state. It's part of the company's push to meet a state mandate to generate more energy from sources other than fossil fuels.
Right now, 75 percent of the renewable energy Duke generates or buys comes from eastern North Carolina.
“We're doing a great job east of Raleigh and eastern North Carolina, but we think there's probably good opportunities for more solar in the Duke Energy Carolinas area, which is the Piedmont and western North Carolina,” spokesman Randy Wheeless said.
The company is seeking proposals for 400 megawatts of generating capacity in the western part of the state. That would produce 750,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually - enough to power 62,000 homes.
State law requires Duke to get 12.5 percent of its power from solar, wind and other renewable sources by 2021. The company is currently at about 7 percent and last spring set a new higher goal of 15 percent by 2020. Most of that will come from solar.
Duke already owns or buys about 1,750 megawatts of solar power in the state. Including other companies besides Duke, North Carolina now ranks No. 2 nationwide in solar generating capacity.
Duke Energy.com, "Solar Power-North Carolina"