Business and non-profit energy users in North Carolina are eligible for solar rebates through a new program from Duke Energy. The $62 million solar rebate program – which will help customers with the upfront cost of installing solar panels on their properties – has been approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
Nonresidential customers would be eligible for a rebate of 50 cents per watt. Nonprofit customers (such as churches and schools) would be eligible for an enhanced rebate of 75 cents per watt for systems 100 kW or less. Installed systems 100 kW or greater would be eligible for a maximum rebate of $50,000 for nonresidential 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, Duke Energy explains.
The program allows Duke Energy to “secure solar energy from independent facilities at a market rate – also a benefit for customers,” says David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president.
The program is part of 2017’s Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina law – also known as House Bill 589. It is also available for residential customers.
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 megawatts. Duke says 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.
Earlier this year, Duke Energy announced two other solar programs as a result of House Bill 589.
- Shared Solar: This 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: This program 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.
These two programs are awaiting approval from the NCUC.