Florence Update: One GW of Solar Capacity Went Offline after Historic Storm

Duke energy issued a fact sheet on Thursday, September 20 outlining the damages that Hurricane Florence caused to the 3,000 MW (3 GW) of solar capacity connected to the Duke Energy system in North Carolina.

According to Duke, at peak solar outages, 1 GW of solar capacity was not available to the system. Of that 1 GW, 100 MW was Duke-owned solar capacity and the rest was either taken offline or tripped off during the storm (either grid or facility related).

As of this writing, roughly 800-900 MW of solar capacity is still offline but some is starting to come back online. Duke offered no timetable for full restoration of solar assets.

Most of the offline sites are in areas that experienced extreme flooding.

“There is a lot of solar near the coastal counties of North Carolina,” said spokesperson Randy Wheeless in a statement.

Duke Energy has 35 solar sites in North Carolina and three of those (Camp Lejeune, Warsaw and Fayetteville) are offline with the utility assessing damage to them today. About one dozen panels were damaged at the Duke-owned 60-MW solar array in Monroe, which has more than 600,000 panels. The Monroe site is fully functioning today.

Watch the video below to see an aerial view of the Monroe solar facility before the hurricane struck.

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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, RenewableEnergyWorld.com was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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