Duke Energy seeks to increase solar energy capacity

September 9, 2016 0 By Stephen Vagus

Utility aims to show more support for solar power

Duke Energy, one of North Carolina’s leading energy utilities, is looking to increase its solar capacity. The utility expects to see a growth in the consumption of energy over the next 15 years and intends to provide customers with access to solar power in order to accommodate growing demand for electricity. While demand for solar energy specifically is still relatively low, the utility wants to increase its solar capacity in order to comply with new government policies and emission regulations.

Demand for solar energy is on the rise

According to Duke Energy, the demand for electricity is growing fastest within the commercial sector. Many businesses are expected to consume more electrical power in the coming years. Energy efficiency measures are likely to slow this growth to about 1% over the next 15 years. Duke hopes to invest more aggressively in solar energy in order to help accommodate the growing demand for electricity within the commercial sector.

Utility to raise solar capacity to 2,163 MW by 2031

Solar Energy Capacity IncreaseDuke has plans to increase its solar energy capacity to 2,163 megawatts by 2031. Next year, the utility is expected to have 735 megawatts of solar capacity in operation. While Duke is showing more support for solar energy, the utility has also made note of its limitations. One of the utilities top concerns regarding solar power is it intermittent nature. Solar farms can only generate electricity when exposed to sunlight. During stormy weather, when the sun is hidden behind a blanket of clouds, these solar farms generate somewhat less electricity than intended. Because of this intermittency, more conventional forms of power are often considered ideal because they have proven to be very reliable.

Solar power continues to see growth in the solar sector

Solar energy has been growing particularly popular in the residential sector. Many homeowners are eager to embrace solar energy in order to save money on their electricity bills. These homeowners are also looking to become more environmentally friendly. Some homeowners are taking advantage of leasing programs that allow them to install solar panels on their properties at a relatively low price. Relatively few utilities offer access to solar energy at this time, but this is likely to change as demand in the residential sector grows.