Duke Energy says it will have paid nearly $12 million in solar rebates to South Carolina customers by the end of 2016.
Act 236, an omnibus solar bill passed by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2014, opened the door for Duke Energy to offer a variety of solar programs to customers. The rebate program provides $1.00/watt for qualified residential customers who install systems up to 20 kW on their properties and for business customers that install systems up to 1 MW on their properties. Nonprofit and governmental entities may be eligible to receive a rebate of $1.50/watt for systems up to 20 kW on their properties.
In only one year, more than 1,800 residential customers and 125 business customers have applied to participate in Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program. According to the utility, the rebates help with the upfront cost of installing solar panels for customers – making the technology more accessible to the company’s 730,000 customers in the state.
“The rebate program brought my cost to install down significantly,” comments Bob Horst, a former college instructor. “Since then, our bill has been nearly zero. Now I’m planning to buy an electric car, and I love the fact that I will be able to power that at home with solar energy.”
“Our customers have responded very positively to our solar rebate program,” says Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president. “It’s expanded the choices our customers have in meeting their energy needs by helping to lower the upfront costs associated with building solar installations.”
More than 40 MW of solar power is scheduled to come online already, putting Duke Energy more than halfway to the 53 MW goal cited by the act.
With the rebate program nearing capacity, a waiting list has been established for some of the offerings associated with this program. All applications for the rebate program must be vetted and approved. Should an application be denied, the waiting list will be used on a first-come, first-served basis.
Though the rebate program is coming to a close, Duke Energy notes customers can continue to install solar power using tax credits through the state and federal government. Customers may also choose to use solar power on site through net metering.
Additionally, Duke Energy will begin offering in 2017 a Shared Solar Program. Shared solar allows customers who can’t or don’t want to put solar on their property the ability to participate in the economic and environmental benefits of solar.