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What is the status of the solar farm at Progress Energy’s Sutton steam plant?

Merton Vance

Progress Energy reported that the 1.2-megawatt solar power system went online in early April 2009.

The photovoltaic array, which covers about 10 acres at the Sutton plant site, was built by SunEdison, a major provider of solar power in the U.S. SunEdison will operate the facility and sell electricity to Progress Energy under a 20-year contract.

Progress Energy sells the solar-generated electricity to customers. The Sutton plant can produce a total of 659 megawatts of power, including power generated by its coal-burning system.

The solar power system is one of a number of alternative energy generation and energy efficiency measures the utility company is taking to meet requirements of a state energy law passed in 2007.

The law set standards requiring utility companies to provide renewable energy and energy efficiency levels in their mix of power production. For Progress Energy, that portion grows from 3 percent of total energy sales in 2012 to 12.5 percent in 2021. For solar-generated energy, the requirement begins in 2010.

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