The 1.3 megawatt solar photovoltaic array at the City of Raleigh’s Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant was energized on the afternoon of Dec. 22.
The 10-acre site is located at the intersection of Battlebridge Road and Brownfield Road. The arrangement between the City of Raleigh, Progress Energy Carolinas, Southern Energy Management, and NxGen Power reaffirms the City's commitment to being a leader in the community in sustainability.
Under the terms of the lease agreement, approved by the City Council, NxGen Power of Charlotte will own and operate the array and sell the output to Progress Energy Carolinas for distribution to its customers. No City capital investment was required for this project. Southern Energy Management of Morrisville designed, engineered and constructed the project.
According to NxGen Power, the project is the largest utility-scale solar power project located on local government property in the state. Michael Byrnes, president and chief executive officer of NxGen Power, said,"The milestone is a culmination of a lot of hard work and perseverance by NxGen Power, Southern Energy Management, the City of Raleigh and Progress Energy. It represents a great achievement in building the energy economy in North Carolina.
The solar photovoltaic array is expected to generate approximately 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,300 tons annually. This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from the use of about 140,000 gallons of gasoline.
In 2008, Raleigh’s Public Utilities Department started investigating solar photovoltaic generation and determined the Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant site was a potential location for an array. This was done with the assistance of Mike Nicklas of Innovative Design, an internationally known and environmentally sensitive architectural firm based in Raleigh and the winner of the City’s 2009 Pioneering Environmental Award.
The City invited several experienced solar power developers to provide a project bid in response to Progress Energy Carolinas’ request for renewable energy proposals. The company’s request was designed to meet the requirements of North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Portfolio Standard, passed in 2007. After an evaluation process, Progress Energy Carolinas accepted NxGen Power's and Southern Energy Management’s proposal.
About Progress Energy
Progress Energy (progress-energy.com), headquartered in Raleigh, 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.
About NxGen Power
NxGen Power, LLC (nxgenpower.com) is a developer and operator of renewable energy facilities. NxGen Power uses strategic partnerships and institutional investors to help utility, government, school and commercial customers meet their renewable energy goals without the upfront cost. The company works to educate and to provide customers the opportunity to harness the power of the sun through the use of solar energy and other innovative technologies. NxGen Power is changing the dynamic of energy use by building clean, sustainable, distributed generation facilities and producing power where the power is being used. The company is headquartered in Charlotte.
About Southern Energy Management
Southern Energy Management (southern-energy.com) is a North Carolina-based sustainable energy company offering energy efficiency, green building and turn-key solar services for homeowners, builders, companies, government and military clients across the country. A certified B Corp, Southern Energy Management's mission is to have a measurable impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, and to build a sustainable triple-bottom-line company. Southern Energy Management was founded in a living room in Raleigh in 2001, and now employs a team of more than 100 sustainable energy professionals. SEM is consistently recognized as an industry leader both locally and nationally, and is among a small handful of companies in the U.S. to earn the National Energy Star Partner of the Year award five times (in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011). Southern Energy Management received the City of Raleigh 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award and the 2010 Green Jobs Award from SJF Institute & Green For All.
Sustainability is one of the City of Raleigh’s five strategic themes. It is defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The City of Raleigh sustainability initiatives include:
•Participating in Project Get Ready to prepare the Capital City for the availability of electric plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles;
•The creation of a citizens Environmental Advisory Board;
•Adopted a fossil fuel reduction goal;
•Enacted a standard for energy efficiency using the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating for all City-owned buildings. Construction and additions of at least 10,000 square feet should achieve silver-level certification of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.; and,
•Endorsed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to develop a greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy for the City.
There are many sustainability initiatives on-going in the City including installation of LED lighting, greening the City's vehicle fleet, supporting the creation of green jobs, a teleworking program, renewable energy projects, rainwater harvesting, water reuse, tiered-water rates, sustainable purchasing policies, employee health and wellness programs, innovative financing strategies, and public-private collaborations.