Update 05/24: After a group of North Carolina solar installers challenged this agreement, the two groups came together to create a modified plan providing a gradual transition from the existing net-metering programs for eligible customers.
Solar business and clean energy advocates, including North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), SEIA, Sunrun and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) on behalf of Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, signed an agreement with Duke Energy supporting the implementation of a new net energy metering program in North Carolina. If approved by the NC Utilities Commission, this agreement will offer Duke Energy’s future net-metering customers significant up-front savings when adopting solar including a direct rebate, new solar pricing signals to reduce utility costs for all customers and preserve electricity bill savings for current net metering customers.
“North Carolina’s net metering agreement was crafted with input from SEIA and its partners and helps to create a policy that works for solar customers, installers and utilities in the state,” said Will Giese, regional director, Southeast, at SEIA, in a statement. “This is a step in the right direction for the Southeast and is an example of the ways that smart energy policy can unlock the full potential of rooftop solar, especially when paired with storage and other smart energy technologies. We have seen what’s possible in the region through the South Carolina Net Metering Successor program and we are excited to expand the North Carolina market in a similar manner.”
Under both House Bill 589 (2017) and House Bill 951 (2021), the NC Utilities Commission is required to re-examine North Carolina’s net-metering policies. The new net-metering program is inspired by a similar agreement reached between advocates and Duke Energy in South Carolina and will provide regulatory certainty for both rooftop solar adopters and installers for the next decade. In addition, the agreement should expand the net-metered solar market as solar adoption remains a financially attractive option to homeowners and businesses hoping to save on their electricity bills and generate their own clean electricity.
The companies developed the revised rates using a Comprehensive Rate Design Study. Notable points from the agreement include:
- Credits for any net monthly exports at an annualized rate (weighted average rate for all hours assuming a fixed block of energy) for avoided energy cost
- A monthly grid access fee for solar facilities with a capacity greater than 15 kWDC
- A monthly minimum bill that ensures recovery of costs related to the distribution system
- Non-bypassable charges to recover all costs related to DSM/EE, storm cost recovery and cybersecurity
- Ability for customers who install net-metered generation prior to the implementation of new rates to elect to remain on their existing rates until January 1, 2027
“This program pushes forward progress in North Carolina’s clean energy economy,” said Peter Ledford, general counsel and director of policy at North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. “Not only does it advance the residential solar sector, it also provides a framework and agreement to work collaboratively on the next generation of non-residential net metering. This agreement establishes new price signals and opportunities for homeowners to incorporate innovative technologies with solar — smart thermostats, battery storage and more.”
News item from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. Updated with SEIA’s statement at 12:53 p.m.