ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 19, 2011) – Progress Energy Carolinas today announced an 18-month research-and-development project with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to evaluate the effects of widespread, small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on the electric grid.
Progress Energy Carolinas will install twelve 180-watt solar PV panels and monitoring systems on utility poles in Asheville, N.C. Progress Energy Carolinas and EPRI will collect detailed data in one-second intervals to study the potential benefits and impacts of installing multiple solar electric generators with variable outputs in concentrated areas.
“We’re committed to further integrating renewable energy into our balanced generation portfolio,” said Lloyd Yates, president and CEO of Progress Energy Carolinas. “It’s vital that we maintain reliable service to our customers even as we work together to increase solar energy on our system. We’re excited to work with EPRI on this project as we address the challenges of rising costs, growing energy demand and global climate change.”
The project will compare data from up to 400 locations nationwide and analyze the impact of cloud movements, shading and temperature on the systems’ production. Progress Energy Carolinas selected Asheville for the location of its trial due to the mountainous terrain and weather conditions. Later this year, Progress Energy Florida will install similar systems on utility poles around Orlando.
Electricity from dispersed solar PV resources is a growing contributor to the electric power generation supply. According to EPRI, distribution grid-connected PV systems are expected to account for more than 90 percent of solar capacity additions in 2011.
Progress Energy Carolinas is experiencing an increase in solar PV systems on its grid due to state tax incentives, utility-sponsored programs and growing requirements for solar energy under North Carolina’s state energy policy, adopted in 2007. The company anticipates 200 to 300 small-scale PV interconnections each year and the number of systems is expected to increase as the energy policy targets rise and the cost of solar power decreases.
Progress Energy Carolinas has a diverse group of incentive programs aimed at helping its customers harness the power of the sun. The SunSense® commercial and residential solar PV programs offer premium payments and rebates to customers to help reduce the cost of installing rooftop solar PV arrays. For more information on these programs, visit www.progress-energy.com/SunSense.
About Progress Energy
Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 500 energy company with more than 22,000 megawatts of generation capacity and approximately $10 billion in annual revenues. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve about 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. The company has earned the Edison Electric Institute's Edison Award, the industry's highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence, and was the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder's Award for customer service. The company is pursuing a balanced strategy for a secure energy future, which includes aggressive energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. Progress Energy celebrated a century of service in 2008. Visit the company’s website at www.progress-energy.com.
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