Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program Approved In North Carolina

Duke Energy’s $62 million solar rebate program, which is designed to help North Carolina customers with the upfront cost of installing solar panels on their property, was approved this month by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC).

The program is part of 2017’s Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina law – also known as H.B.589 – which includes new Duke Energy programs to benefit customers, according to the utility.

Customers can start signing up for the rebate program this summer. The NCUC ruling on the program can be found here.

“The Competitive Energy Solutions law for North Carolina will encourage solar ownership for customers while we pursue a balanced and affordable energy mix for all customers,” comments David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “It also allows Duke Energy to secure solar energy from independent facilities at a market rate – also a benefit for customers.”

According to the utility, North Carolina is second in the nation for overall solar capacity. Currently, in North Carolina, Duke Energy has more than 6,000 customers who have private solar systems – with a total capacity of just over 50 MW. The program is expected to increase North Carolina’s private solar market by 200% over the next five years, providing an economic boost for the state’s solar installation business, as well, says Duke Energy.

Under the program, residential customers will be eligible for a rebate of $0.60/W for solar energy systems 10 kW or less. For example, a typical rooftop array of 8 kW would be eligible for a $4,800 rebate. Installed systems 10 kW or greater would be eligible for a maximum rebate of $6,000.

Non-residential customers would be eligible for $0.50/W. Nonprofit customers (such as churches and schools) would be eligible for an enhanced rebate of $0.75/W for systems 100 kW or less. Installed systems 100 kW or greater would be eligible for a maximum rebate of $50,000 for non-residential customers or $75,000 for nonprofit customers.

Customers will also have a solar leasing option. Instead of owning the system, customers can lease solar panels from another company. Much like leasing a car, a third-party leasing agency owns the system, while the customer has a contract to use the output of the solar panels, the utility explains.

“We structured our program to give customers as much flexibility as possible to pursue renewable options,” adds Fountain. “Of course, customers have to determine if solar energy fits their needs.”

Earlier this year, Duke Energy announced two other solar programs as a result of the law. The programs, awaiting approval from the NCUC, are as follows:

  • 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; and
  • 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.

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