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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Progress Energy gives solar a boost

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 11:18 AM

click to enlarge Progress Energy

This is great news ... hopefully Duke Energy will keep up this type of thing once it gobbles Progress Energy up so Charlotte can become the green energy hub it longs to be. (Do not hold your breath ... or, do, since coal is the fall back and using it to create electricity mucks up our air quality.)

Solar developers in the Charlotte region are welcoming the news that Progress Energy Inc. is seeking bids to buy power from relatively large 1- to 3-megawatt solar projects to be built in the state.

Erik Lensch, founder of Argand Energy Solutions, says his company intends to submit a bid for a project it has been considering for some time with a municipality in eastern North Carolina. He calls the request for proposals Progress issued in late June a significant move for a solar industry that hasn’t had a lot of good news in North Carolina lately.

Michael Byrnes, chief executive of NxGen Power, says his company is “thrilled” and hopes to participate, though he declines to say more about any plans for a bid. He says it’s clear Progress has listened to solar developers who have had trouble finding larger projects — in the 1- to 5-megawatt range — in the Carolinas.

“More is always better,” he says. “This is a strong statement by Progress on solar power, and Progress is an outstanding partner.”

There has been concern about rough times for North Carolina’s fledgling solar industry. An initial burst of activity followed the General Assembly’s 2007 law requiring utilities to produce some of the energy they sell from renewable sources. But as the major utilities and the electric cooperatives began meeting the phased-in requirements ahead of schedule, companies feared the job pipeline would dry up.

Read more from The Charlotte Business Journal here.

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