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Duke Energy's First CES Solar RFP Draws Bids for Nearly Six Times Capacity Solicited

Solar power project developers responded enthusiastically to Duke Energy’s recently completed Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy (CPRE). Registered market participants submitted bids to build 78 projects with a total capacity of nearly 4,000 MW in the Carolinas for Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress – nearly six times the 680 MW solicited. 

Solar power project developers submitted proposals to install a total capacity of around 2,000 MW for Duke Energy Carolinas, more than three times the 600 MW solicited, and 1,900 MW for Duke Energy Progress, 15 times the 80 MW solicited, according to Accion, the independent administrator responsible for conducting the CPRE.

Registered market participants submitted a total of 58 proposals to develop solar power projects in Duke Energy Carolinas’ service territory, all in the form of solar PV, according to Accion’s report. They ranged in power capacity from 7-80 MWac with the average coming in at 50 MW.

An encouraging first tranche

Collectively, bids for Duke Energy Carolinas totaled 2,735.4 MW, more than four times the amount solicited for CPRE Tranche 1 (600 MW AC). All proposals were for solar photovoltaic generation. Three would integrate solar PV and energy storage systems capacity. 

Developers submitted 20 proposals to build out a total of 1,231.15 MW of solar power capacity in Duke Energy Progress’s service territory, more than 15 times the 80 MW solicited. All were for PV generation and they ranged from 7.02-80 MWac of capacity, the average coming in at 61.55 MW. One proposal would incorporate PV and energy storage.

Duke Energy launched the CPRE – a first tranche -- in July in accordance with North Carolina’s Competitive Energy Solutions Law. 

"We are pleased with the robust response to the CPRE program and are confident the program goals will be met for the Carolinas,” said Independent Administrator, Harry Judd of the Accion Group, who will evaluate projects during the bidding process.

More cost-competitive solar power in North Carolina 

Duke Energy-owned business, such as Duke Energy Renewables and REC Solar, are eligible to participate in the CPRE. They will be awarded projects only if they are among the most cost-effective as judged by Accion. Furthermore, in a bid to foster a more open, competitive market, Duke Energy-owned developers can be awarded a maximum of 30 percent of RFPs.

More generally, all CPRE bids must be priced below the utilities’ avoided cost, according to North Carolina’s Competitive Energy Solutions Law so that customers benefit from lower-cost electricity as compared to traditional PURPA rates

Looking ahead, Accion will evaluate the proposals based on criteria approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission and determine which it believes will deliver the greatest economic benefit to Duke Energy customers, Duke Energy explains. 

North Carolina has the second highest installed solar power capacity in the nation. Nearly all is in the form of large-scale, utility-owned installations.

“While it is still early in the process, the number and diversity of bids submitted represent an important and positive step for a clean energy future in the Carolinas, where customers will benefit,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology.

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