Strata Solar plans large project in Lincoln County
Charlotte Business Journal by John Downey, Senior Staff Writer
Date: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 1:27pm EST – Last Modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 1:33pm EST
Strata Solar has filed proposals with N.C. regulators to build two more 5-megawatt solar projects in Duke Energy’s service region, including one in Lincoln County.
After completing the 5-megawatt Kings Mountain Solar Farm last month, Strata Chief Executive Markus Wilhelm said the company had financing in place for up to 10 more projects this year, adding 50 to 60 megawatts of solar capacity in the state.
Strata, based in Chapel Hill, has now submitted regulatory filings for six of those projects. The latest two — the H Creek Farm solar project in Howards Creek township in Lincoln County and the White Cross Farm project in Chapel Hill — are expected to be completed in December.
Four of the projects are in Duke’s service area — including a second in Kings Mountain scheduled to start construction next month. The other two are in Progress Energy’s service area in eastern North Carolina.
The H Creek farm will be built on 44 acres at the end of Leonard Road. It will consist of 26,000 ground-mounted panels and will cost about $22.5 million to build, Strata says. It is expected to produce about 9 million kilowatt hours per year — enough to power about 600 average homes.
Strata plans to sell the power to Duke. Under state law, the power from such a project must be sold to the local utility. The utility has to buy the power, but it does not have to buy the renewable-energy credits produced by the project.
Strata has not said who will buy the credits, which allow utilities to meet the state’s requirements for producing some of the power they sell from renewable resources.
Duke may ultimately buy the credits. But it does not comment on such purchase until a deal has been closed.
The White Cross Farm has essentially the same specs, and will be built on about 120 acres on White Cross Road in Chapel Hill.