Blue Ridge Energy is building an 11-MW solar array for members

Sitemap for Blue Ridge Energy’s Brighter Future Solar project being developed by Oriden, a venture of Mitsubishi Power Americas. (Credit: Oriden)

Blue Ridge Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative serving northwest North Carolina, said it picked Oriden LLC to develop an 11-MW solar project as part of its Brighter Future initiative. This project will provide a local generation source and allow Blue Ridge Energy to work towards its goals of achieving a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Brighter Future Solar project will cover 50 to 55 acres in southern Caldwell County and is estimated to deliver 19,000 megawatt-hours of electricity into the grid annually. Blue Ridge Energy will purchase the full output of the project through a 25-year fully bundled Power Purchase Agreement, helping to control wholesale power costs and keeping rates stable for cooperative members. In the future, the project can help the cooperative provide alternative rate options to benefit the membership and help manage peak power demands for electricity.

Oriden is leading the development and financing, while overseeing all project permitting, site diligence, engineering, and major equipment decisions. Oriden is funded and backed by Mitsubishi Power Americas. United Renewable Energy is providing late-stage development support, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services using local North Carolina based management and labor. Pisgah Energy supported local community engagement and permitting efforts. The company provides comprehensive solar and energy storage design and development services across the Southeast.

Michael Berlin, Director of Energy Development at Oriden, said, “Blue Ridge Energy’s investment in solar shows great leadership and ensures its members’ energy generation needs are met sustainably and affordably. Oriden appreciates Blue Ridge Energy’s partnership and will execute with a focus on exceptional quality as it brings northwestern North Carolina a Change in Power.”

Blue Ridge Energy’s CEO, Doug Johnson, said, “To meet our sustainability goals while upholding our commitments to reliability and affordability, we are focusing our efforts on areas that make the electric grid more flexible, efficient, resilient, and capable of supporting new energy solutions and the vitality of our communities. We look forward to implementing Oriden’s custom-designed large-scale solar solution, which we have named Brighter Future Solar, to help meet our goals.”

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