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Duke set to triple solar power capacity

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Duke gets approval for solar plants

On December 8, 2014, Duke Energy Corporation (DUK) got approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission to construct three large solar facilities in North Carolina. This follows Duke’s September announcement that it would invest $500 million in a solar expansion plan in North Carolina.

According to the plan, Duke will build three solar power plants and buy power under power purchase agreements with five other new solar power plants.

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Solar capacity addition

The three solar projects approved for construction will have a capacity of 128 MW (megawatts) to add to Duke Energy’s total generation capacity. Power generation from these three projects and the power purchases from other solar plants means Duke will gain 278 MW of new solar capacity upon project completion. This will bring its total solar power capacity to more than three times its existing strength. Construction is to begin in early 2015 and should be completed by the end of the year.

Although Duke has the highest generation capacity of all the power companies included in the Select Sector Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU), it lags behind other power utilities in terms of solar capacity. Solar capacity currently forms only 114 MW of Duke’s 57,000 MW total generation capacity. NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), an Exelon Corporation (EXC) are the solar generation capacity leaders in the US.

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