ENERGY

Duke Energy has reached an agreement to modernize North Carolina’s rooftop solar policy

Duke Energy has filed an agreement with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) that would link solar adopter remuneration with utility system benefits and provide long-term stability for North Carolina’s residential solar business.

Duke Energy and the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association drafted the net metering agreement, as did the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, as well as Sunrun Inc. and the Solar Energy Industries Association. The NCUC must provide its approval.

“Duke Energy is dedicated to finding collaborative routes forward to assist with the Carolinas’ clean-energy transition and carbon-reduction goals.” stated Stephen De May, president of Duke Energy North Carolina. “This agreement assures that all customers, whether they want to install solar or not, are treated fairly and reasonably.”

Duke Energy’s $62 million solar rebate program, which is set to last until 2023, has boosted private solar ownership during the last three years. Currently, 24,000 North Carolina residents have private solar systems, up from 6,000 at the start of 2018.

“The deal modernizes rooftop solar economics and delivers advantages for all consumers,” said Lon Huber, vice president of strategic solutions at Duke Energy. “Net metering has been a divisive subject across the country, but our stakeholder partners collaborated to design a fair approach that delivers financial sustainability to rooftop solar in North Carolina.”

The deal:

  • Allows new net metering rates to take effect for consumers who apply on or after January 1, 2023.
  • Creates novel pricing and incentives for residential solar users.
  • Rate design procedures are included to collect the expenses of the grid infrastructure required to service solar clients.
  • Innovative retail pricing that fluctuate depending on the time of day and when the utility is experiencing peak demand will be included.
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According to Bryan Jacob, Solar Program Director at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, “We feel it is critical to offer an accurate appraisal of distributed energy resources. Customers that supply grid services with private investments should be adequately reimbursed for those services. Simultaneously, prices must be adjusted to connect consumer behavior with utility cost reduction whenever practicable.”

Lindsey Hallock, Vote Solar’s Southeast Senior Regional Director, noted, “This agreement recognizes the essential role that rooftop solar must play in the North Carolina economy, sustainable energy transition, and employment creation. The inclusion of a low-income solar program, which will be built with stakeholder participation, will bring the voices of low-income customers to the table, eliminate prohibitive cost barriers, and enable more North Carolinians to reap the advantages of solar. I’m hoping that this optimistic move is the first of many toward the Carolinas’ transition to a 100 percent renewable energy future, and that Duke Energy continues to invest extensively in clean energy sources and low-income housing assistance “”households.”

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