Solar + Storage

Solar + Storage

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives build energy innovation to rural North Carolina in many ways. Cooperatives are coupling utility-scale solar with battery energy storage at in communities across co-op grids.

The “Solar + Storage” energy resources support the cooperatives’ efforts through the Brighter Future initiative to build a more resilient, efficient and sustainable electric grid for co-op consumer-members and communities.

Solar + Storage sites will generate more than 18MW from solar panels, providing enough electricity to power 2,725 homes. In addition to the solar energy, the projects provide more than 44MWh of energy storage, to dispatch when demand for electricity on co-op systems peaks.

Pairing solar with battery energy storage enables co-op consumer-members to gain the most benefit from an intermittent resource, which advances grid resilience and supports our goal of achieving goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Solar energy is most abundant during the middle of the day, but energy demand peaks in the late afternoon hours in the summer and early in the morning during winter. With this project, the renewable resource is captured when it’s most abundant, storing it and discharging it exactly when it’s needed within local communities, creating a lot of potential.

Cooperatives in North Carolina are working together to integrate innovative energy technologies, like solar and storage, to ensure that cooperative members continue to benefit from reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable electricity. Electric cooperatives have approximately 500MW of renewable, distributed energy and edge-of-grid resources integrated or pending integration into distribution cooperative grids.

Coordinating energy resources that are distributed throughout electric systems is a priority for the cooperatives as the grid evolves, to optimize system performance of the grid and enhance the reliability of electricity even further.