Asheville, N.C. – Progress Energy Carolinas’ generation mix in Western N.C. is a little sunnier, as the region’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) array is now online and generating electricity. The new 555-kilowatt (kW) Evergreen Solar Farm is owned and operated by FLS Energy and built on Evergreen Packaging’s now-closed landfill in Haywood County. Progress Energy Carolinas is purchasing the array’s entire output for distribution to the company’s customers.
“The solar age has dawned,” said FLS Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Shore. “FLS Energy converted an old landfill to an electricity generation facility, creating jobs and clean energy along way.”
This solar PV array project created five new construction jobs for a five month period and is expected to generate approximately 730,000 kilowatt-hours every year. This is roughly equivalent to the annual electricity demand from 51 average North Carolina homes. This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 525 tons per year, which is the equivalent of removing 100 vehicles from the roads in Western North Carolina.
“Sustainability and economic development can go hand-in-hand to provide solutions to climate change and the financial crisis,” said Congressman Heath Shuler (D-Waynesville). “I am proud to welcome the area’s first solar farm, and look forward to the impact it will have on creating jobs and sustaining our planet. This project, along with Asheville’s National Climactic Data Center, and dozens of growing clean energy businesses across the region, position Western North Carolina to become the national hub for green energy and green jobs.”
This is the Progress Energy’s fourth large-scale solar PV array to begin operating in North Carolina. Another four are under contract. Including small-scale projects, Progress Energy has contracts for a total of more than 11,000 kilowatts of solar power.
“We believe that solar power, along with energy efficiency and state-of-the-art power plants, will play an important part of a balanced approach to meeting the challenges of growing energy demand and global climate change,” said John Smith, vice president of Progress Energy Carolinas’ Western Region. “We are proud to partner with FLS Energy and the community on this innovative project and excited to see it come online.”
The Evergreen Solar Farm has a unique design that makes it one of the first solar arrays in the country to be installed on a landfill. FLS Energy constructed concrete pads on top of the landfill to provide a base for the 2,340 Sunniva solar panels, because the installation could not penetrate the two-foot soil cap. The pads provide counterweight against high winds and support on the ground.
“This is yet one more way our company can show our commitment to the environment,” said Derric Brown, Evergreen’s Director of Sustainability. “This is a great use of our closed landfill and we are happy to participate. Combined with our support of sustainable forests in the region for wood chips and our participation in expanding recycling for our products like milk cartons we hope to be a leader in smart environmental practices.”
FLS Energy proposed this solar PV project in response to Progress Energy Carolinas’ 2007 request for renewable energy proposals, which is part of the company’s plan to meet the requirements of North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency Portfolio Standard. The law requires utilities to provide a portion of their energy sales using renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
About FLS Energy
FLS Energy’s mission is to establish solar as a mainstream technology through the development, design and installation of quality, clean energy systems for both businesses and homeowners. For more information about FLS Energy, please visit www.flsenergy.com
About Evergreen Packaging
Evergreen Packaging, Inc., formerly Blue Ridge Paper Products, Inc., is a world leader in beverage packing solutions, publication and converting papers. It has operated in Western North Carolina for 100 years. For more information about Evergreen Packaging, Inc., please visit www.evergreenpackaging.com.
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. Visit the company’s Web site at www.progress-energy.com.