Solar Array at Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant Energized

The 1.3 megawatt solar voltaic array at the City of Raleigh’s Neuse River Wastewater Treatment Plant was energized in December.

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.