E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant Produces Energy Through a Rooftop Solar Array
The City of Raleigh's E. M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant is home to one of North Carolina's largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays. Officials toasted the coming on-line of the array with Sundrop soft drink at the dedication on January 20, 2010.
Carolina Solar Energy built the 250-kilowatt (kW) array at the City of Raleigh's water treatment plant, and is selling its output to Progress Energy Carolinas for distribution to its customers.
The solar photo-voltaic array is made possible by Progress Energy's SunSense Commercial Solar PV program, which is designed to encourage the development of renewable energy by offering a premium price for solar power developed on commercial rooftops. In 2009, Progress Energy accepted proposals for a total of more than 2,000 kW under this program.
"The City of Raleigh is aggressively pursuing every possibility in the realm of sustainability," Mayor Charles Meeker said at the dedication ceremony for the solar array. "Bringing all of these local elements together to this roof top is producing not only kilowatts but enthusiasm and creative energy for what all we can do next." Carolina Solar Energy is a Triangle based company as are King Electric Co. and TROSA who installed the array.
"We are committed to developing solar power, along with energy efficiency and state-of-the-art power plants, as part of a balanced approach to meeting our region's growing energy demand," said Lloyd Yates, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy Carolinas. "Our SunSense programs and this project continue our long history of partnering with local communities, and we are proud to help advance this innovative technology."
This solar PV array is the first in the Southeast to use First Solar's thin-film PV technology, which allows the panels to generate electricity for longer periods during the day. It began operating Dec. 31 and is expected to generate approximately 325,000 kilowatt-hours a year - roughly equal to the annual energy demand of 22 typical homes. The PV array will reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 230 tons, which is equivalent to conserving 26,000 gallons of gasoline.
The E.M. Johnson Water Treatment Plant is located at the southwest corner of Falls of the Neuse and Raven Ridge roads in Raleigh. The array is located on the roof of the plant's "clearwell," a large concrete structure that stores clean water before it is sent to be used by city residents. Carolina Solar Energy has a 20-year lease with the City, and the City has an option to buy the solar array in the future. No City capital investment was required for the project.
The City of Raleigh and Progress Energy Carolinas, which is headquartered in Raleigh, have already partnered on several "green" initiatives. These include installing energy-efficient LED streetlights, preparing the City for electric vehicles through the NC Get Ready project and a 13-megawatt solar PV array to be built at the Neuse River Waste Water Treatment Plant.
This is the third solar project that Carolina Solar Energy has developed with Progress Energy. The other two solar PV arrays are a 75-kW array at the RBC Center in Raleigh and a 650-kW array in Person County. Both are in operation.
About Carolina Solar Energy
Carolina Solar Energy, LLC is headquartered in Durham and was founded in 2004 and develops solar PV projects 100 kW and larger. CSE provides design, financing, construction and operation management to a diverse customer base of commercial, nonprofit, utility and government clients.
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 $9 billion in annual revenues. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve approximately 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.