Durham Reporter

Durham Reporter

Monday, February 24, 2020

Local leaders approach Duke Energy to provide solar power in schools


By Benjamin Kibbey | Jan 10, 2020


Local leaders are asking Duke Energy to provide North Carolina schools with solar systems similar to those the Charlotte company provides to schools in other states.

The Chatham News and Record covered the efforts of county commissioners in Chatham and Durham counties who are seeking a response from Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good. Durham County Board of Commissioners Chair Wendy Jacobs said that having such systems would both benefit the schools and help to address climate change. She also said that local government officials are urging Duke to deploy the same assistance in their home state as they do elsewhere.

“It never hurts to ask,” said Chatham County Commissioner Diana Hales, who added that the small group of local officials just wants to get the discussion started.

The group of 34 includes both local government officials and local school officials who are seeking to grow their efforts by adding the voices of other local leaders from around the state. Hales said that low-cost, energy-efficient power for local schools, “is clearly something that can and must be done.”

Chatham is one of seven counties in North Carolina that have committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions while boosting clean-energy usage.

The Chatham News and Record cited a solar system installed in California as an example of the potential benefits. That system is expected to save the local school $2.2 million over two years while still generating a profit for a Duke subsidiary.

Durham County Commissioner Heidi Carter said there could also be benefits in emergency situations, such as in Down East communities that have been struck hard by storms. With schools producing and storing their own power, outages would not create as many problems.

The group has requested a February meeting with Duke Energy leadership.

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