Duke Power Reaches Settlement to Modernize, Develop Rooftop Solar

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Duke Energy has reached an agreement with solar installers, environmental groups and renewable energy advocates that, if approved by regulators, will create long-term stability for the residential solar industry in South Carolina.

The proposed plan – Solar Choice Net Metering – could be the next generation of net energy metering for the Carolinas, a billing process where small customers credit rooftop solar panels for excess electricity they generate and grid to Duke Energy. The deal provides customers with options and enables the company to meet growing winter power needs for the benefit of the company’s systems and customers in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Solar Choice Net Metering includes retail prices that vary based on the time of day and peak utility needs. Customers can also use it to install an intelligent thermostat with their solar modules and receive an incentive for the combination.

“This package modernizes the rooftop solar transaction,” said Lon Huber, vice president of tariffing and strategic solutions at Duke Energy. “This new regulation not only recognizes the value of solar energy and the energizing grid, but also opens up additional benefits for all customers by addressing the question of when utilities have peak demand in their systems in the Carolinas.”

Organizations participating in the effort include Renewable Energy Proponents, Vote Solar and the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association; the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Southern Environmental Law Center, Upstate Forever, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; and solar installer on the Sunrun roof. Any organization that is part of the agreement will continue to push the proposal to other stakeholders and ultimately to regulators.

The agreement builds on the goals of the South Carolina Energy Freedom Act (Act 62). The 2019 legislation is the result of a joint and bipartisan effort to develop the next steps for energy policy in South Carolina that support the state’s continued commitment to solar energy development.

If approved by regulators, the company expects that a transition tariff will be available on June 1, 2021 to allow for a full transition to the new plan on or before January 1, 2022.

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