By The Raleigh Telegram
RALEIGH – The City of Raleigh, which has long been an innovator in terms of energy leadership, is touting the opening of a brand new solar power facility located on city government property. In addition to LED lighting, electric car chargers, and solar powered lights, the city can now boast of a large solar power facility.
Although located on city property, the solar arrays were privately funded and the project was built at no cost to taxpayers.
The solar farm is located on 10 acres at the City of Raleigh’s Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant in southeastern Wake County.
In February, the solar power facility officially started operations and officials say it is the largest utility scale solar power project to be built on local government property in North Carolina.
The city says that the 1.3-megawatt Neuse River Solar Farm is expected to generate around 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, roughly the equivalent to the annual energy use of about 130 homes in North Carolina.
According to the city, plans for including a solar array on the property were first initiated in 2008 and construction on the facility started last year.
The partners in the project with the City of Raleigh include NxGen Power, Southern Energy Management and Progress Energy Carolinas.
According to the city, NxGen Power of Charlotte owns and operates the Neuse River Solar Farm and will sell the output to Progress Energy Carolinas for distribution to its customers.
Southern Energy Management of Morrisville, North Carolina was the firm that designed, engineered and constructed the solar array.
“The City of Raleigh provided land for the project under a lease agreement,” said the city in a press statement. “No capital from the City of Raleigh was used for the solar array.”
According to the city, Raleigh has the option to purchase the solar farm after seven years, according to terms of the lease agreement.
Three firms submitted solar energy project proposals for the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant. After an evaluation process, Progress Energy Carolinas accepted NxGen Power’s and Southern Energy Management’s proposal for a solar array. Construction of the Neuse River Solar Farm began last fall.
According to the City of Raleigh, the greater Wake County region boasts the most clean energy firm offices of any county in North Carolina with nearly 400 reported clean energy establishments. ::