North Carolina regulators recently approved the construction of Duke Energy’s 5-MW solar project in Buncombe County, the company’s first to be sited on a retired county landfill.
Duke Energy will own and operate the 5-MW solar power plant located on the closed Buncombe County landfill in Woodfin, near Interstate 26 and the French Broad River.
“This innovative project enjoyed great stakeholder and local support and will continue the growth of renewable energy in North Carolina,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president.
The plant is expected to be in service by the end of 2021 and will produce enough energy annually to power about 1,000 homes and businesses.
“The people of Buncombe County recognize climate protection as one of the most urgent issues facing our world today,” said County Board of Commission chairman Brownie Newman. “The solar landfill project is an important part of our initial strategy to accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy. We are excited to see it move forward.”
The new solar plant will help meet the county’s 2030 renewable energy goals, while providing energy to Duke Energy Progress customers in the Carolinas. Under a 25-year agreement, the county will lease the land to Duke Energy and reach nearly 20% of its renewable goal with locally sourced clean energy.
The Buncombe landfill stopped operating in 1996. To avoid disturbing the ground covering, the solar racking system will use concrete ballasts instead of being anchored into the ground. Underground cabling will be kept to a minimum.
The project will be located on 25 acres and will be connected to the Duke Energy Progress power grid. For Buncombe County to include the solar power generated toward its 100% renewable energy goal, it will own the renewable energy certificates (REC) from the Duke Energy power plant to offset the energy used from the county’s operations. In exchange, Buncombe County is allowing Duke Energy to utilize the property at no cost.