Fayetteville PWC Opens NC’s First Municipal Community Solar Project
PWC held a ribbon cutting ceremony October 23, 2019 to announce the operation of North Carolina’s first municipal community solar project.
Community Solar is a customer program that provides an alternative to roof-top solar for customers who want to participate in renewable energy without the expense or effort of installing roof-top solar, including customers who rent their homes. The 1 MW, 3,384 panel farm is located in northeast Cumberland County, adjacent to PWC’s Butler-Warner Generation Plant.
“The PWC Community Solar project gives our customers the ability to take advantage of solar energy without having to make the investment of putting solar panels on their roof,” said David Trego, PWC CEO/General Manager. “This opens up participation in this sustainable and carbon free energy source to all PWC customers including those who are in rental properties or are in the military who otherwise might not think they could get involved.”
The energy produced by the Solar project is sent to the power grid and serves the community and replaces electricity that would have been generated from other sources. In one year, the farm will produce 1.5 Million kWh, enough energy to power 100 homes or to supply the power purchased by PWC industrial customer M J Soffee.
“This project exemplifies the best of what man and nature can do in tandem,” said Evelyn Shaw, PWC Board Chair. “We utilize the ready and available energy resources of nature for man’s longevity. Thus, we protect the environment and sustain ourselves for generations to come.”
In addition, the farm has 500 kW battery storage that allows energy to be stored and used during peak times to reduce energy costs. PWC is also the first municipal to install battery storage.
PWC developed the Community Solar project with the assistance from the North Carolina State Clean Energy Technology Center. Through a federal grant, NCSCETC conducted an early feasibility study for PWC and modeled the economics which PWC adopted for the program.
Dewberry served as the General Contractor for the project and Fayetteville’s Horne Brothers Construction and Directional Services Incorporated (DSI) built the solar array and provided the electrical contracting services.
Beginning Nov. 1, PWC customers will be able to enroll in the Community Solar program. Customers who participate, pay a one-time enrollment fee for each panel. Then pay a monthly panel subscription fee and receive a monthly credit for the solar energy that is generated by the panel. The $1.6 million renewable energy project is funded by the participating customer subscription fees and helps PWC meet its NC Renewable Energy requirements (SB3).
“The project is designed to be financially self-sustaining from those who participate and will be breakeven over its projected 25-year life. So in the end no general ratepayer dollars will be used in the project and it will not have any impact on customer rates,” added Trego.