Progress Energy has submitted a filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission seeking to cut residential solar rebates in its SunSense program from $1,000/kW to $500/kW. Participants will continue to receive a $4.50/kW monthly credit for five years.
The decision was made due to ‘dramatic declines’ in installation costs, according to Southern Energy Management (SEM), which has urged its customers to submit their incentive applications before Progress Energy's filing is accepted.
‘We are disappointed that Progress Energy wants to scale back incentives, but we also see this as a sign of the strength of the solar industry in North Carolina,’ says Maria Kingery, co-founder and CEO of SEM. ‘This request does not come as a surprise. Even with these changes, a solar array bought in 2013 will yield a higher return on investment than that same array would have several years ago.’
Although solar prices have declined more than 35% since 2006 and are expected to be cost-competitive without incentives by 2020, the playing field is not yet level, Kingery adds.
‘Incentives have always played an important role in market development and are designed to help promising industries grow and create the jobs of the future,’ she says. ‘The day will come when we don't need them, but it is not here quite yet.’