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article imageDuke Energy proposes solar rebate program for N.C. customers

By Karen Graham     Jan 23, 2018 in Business
Charlotte - Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy is making news again, this time with a proposal for $62 million in rebates for residential and commercial solar projects in North Carolina over the next five years.
This morning, according to PV Magazine, Duke Energy said they would pursue the rebate program in front of the North Carolina Utilities Commission to comply with the 2017 Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina law passed last year.
Under the proposed program, residential customers will be eligible for 60 cents per watt for solar energy systems 10 kilowatts or less, up to a maximum rebate of $6,000. Commercial customers would be eligible for 50 cents per watt for a maximum rebate of $50,000 while nonprofit entities would be eligible for a rebate of 75 cents per watt up to $75,000.
Customers would also be allowed to lease solar equipment from third-parties. This will allow customers to contract to use the output of the solar panels.
Duke Energy has about 6,000 customers with privately owned solar systems that generate a total capacity of about 50 megawatts. The company says their program will increase private solar market in the state by 200 percent in the next five years.
"The Competitive Energy Solutions law for North Carolina will reduce the cost our customers pay for solar, while also supporting their interest in solar energy in ways that are most meaningful for them," David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina president said. "For many customers, installing solar is a significant investment. Duke Energy’s rebate program will help them by lowering their initial costs."
Bob Kingery, chief executive of Southern Energy Management in Raleigh, told Business Journals that Duke Energy worked with solar installers, industry associations, and customer groups in coming up with the proposal.
Duke Energy s Belews Creek Steam Station  near Belews Lake  northwest of Greensboro  NC is the clean...
Duke Energy's Belews Creek Steam Station, near Belews Lake, northwest of Greensboro, NC is the cleanest, most efficient coal facilities in the U.S.
“The proposed solar rebates program is the result of two years of collaboration between N.C. Sustainable Energy Association and Duke Energy,” says Ivan Urlaub, NCSEA’s executive director. “If approved, this program will enable more North Carolinians across our state to realize the cost-saving benefits of solar.”
Rollout of additional programs in 2018
Duke's proposed rebate program is just the first of three programs Duke is proposing as part of the implementation of Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina legislation, signed into law last year by Gov. Roy Cooper.
Additional programs coming out in 2018 include:
Shared Solar – Will allow customers to subscribe to the output of a nearby solar facility and provides an alternative for customers who do not want, or can’t have, a solar array on their property.
Green Source Advantage – Will allow large customers to secure solar power to offset the amount of power purchased from Duke Energy. This is an expanded version of a pilot program Duke Energy Carolinas provided.
North Carolina, with 3,016 MW, is second in the nation for installed solar power capacity behind California, with 18,296 MW as of 2016, according to SEIA.
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