Duke Energy Renewables is the new owner of the 1-megawatt solar farm located on the grounds of Martins Creek Elementary School in Murphy, N.C. The 4,400 ground mounted photovoltaic (PV) module solar farm has the ability to generate 1.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year – enough to power nearly 150 average-sized homes. Duke purchased the project from ESA Renewables, who until now, operated the farm on behalf of Duke. ESA also developed and installed the solar farm.
The site began producing electricity in March, and all the energy is sold through Blue Ridge Mountain EMC to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as part of its Generation Partners program. The students are able to interact with the solar system through an interactive electronic display. It helps them track power production at the PV facility.
The solar farm is believed to be the only one of its kind located on school property in North Carolina and the third largest solar farm on school property in the states. The 10-year power purchase agreement with TVA is set up to allow the school to share in any revenue created by electric generation. They believe the revenue generated will equate to the cost of salary and benefits for two full-time teachers at the school.
The Martins Creek Solar Project is Duke Energy Renewables’ fourth commercial solar farm in North Carolina and fifth nationwide.