Duke Power, solar business agree on ‘Solar Alternative Internet Metering’ plan in South Carolina



Duke Energy has signed an agreement with leading 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 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.

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.

What is it doing?

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 unique package completely modernizes the rooftop solar transaction,” said Lon Huber, vice president of pricing and strategic solutions for 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.”

Who was involved?

These organizations include renewable energy advocates, Vote Solar and the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Upstate Forever, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; and leading 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.

“Working together set us a path to growing renewable energy in the state with Act 62, and that spirit of collaboration created this plan for the continued expansion of solar energy in South Carolina,” said Mike Callahan, president of Duke Energy, South Carolina. “Duke Energy is committed to the collaborative spirit that is hallmark of successful solar policies and creating a cleaner energy future for customers in South Carolina.”

“Duke Energy deserves recognition for its leadership role in bringing stakeholders together, building trust through transparency, and embracing policy innovation,” said Thad Culley, senior regional director, Vote Solar. “I am confident that this collaborative approach will lead to more partnerships with Duke Energy as we try to find our way to a cleaner, more resilient grid while providing additional opportunities for families in South Carolina.”

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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