More than 5,000 of Duke Energy’s South Carolina customers have installed solar panels on their homes and businesses through a net metering incentive.
Customers can still install solar – and sell the electricity they produce to Duke Energy at the same price the utility pays for electricity generated by large solar power plants – even though the company has reached the capacity limit.
The net metering incentive enabled Duke Energy Carolinas – the utility that primarily serves the Upstate of South Carolina – to achieve its goal of 40 MW of private rooftop solar well in advance of the 2020 target. Duke Energy Progress – the utility serving the northeastern part of the state including Florence and Sumter – is well on its way to meeting its goal of 13 MW of private solar as well.
These goals and the incentives that helped achieve them were a result of landmark legislation passed by South Carolina’s General Assembly in 2014, commonly known as Act 236.
Act 236 provided a framework for customers to install solar on their homes and businesses through strategic programs like the net metering incentive and rebate offerings. The net metering incentive was a component of a larger 2014 settlement agreement with the solar industry, environmental groups and South Carolina’s utilities, and was intended to spur the residential solar market at a time when solar costs were higher. In addition to the net metering incentive, the company has provided more than $50 million in rebates as an extra incentive for customers who wanted to go solar across its South Carolina footprint.
The significant response from Duke Energy Carolinas customers has led to the utility meeting its application capacity goal for the net metering incentive as established by Act 236. Beginning Aug. 1, 2018, Duke Energy Carolinas customers in South Carolina who want to install solar on their home or business will continue to have the option to do so. Duke Energy Carolinas will purchase all the energy their system produces similar to how the utility purchases renewable energy from large scale solar facilities. Those interested in participating in customer-owned generation can utilize Duke Energy Carolinas’ Purchase Power Tariff. Customers wishing to learn more about this offering should visit https://www.duke-energy.com/
Duke Energy Progress is not expected to reach the capacity limit until 2020 or later. Customers there will still be able to sign up for the current form of net metering, and all current net metering customers are grandfathered into their current billing system through the end of 2025.
News item from Duke Energy