On March 23, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) issued final orders in its net metering “Smart $aver” docket. The Commission approved a three-year glide path for solar customers to transition from monthly credits to a more dynamic time-of-use rate structure that incentivizes the use of solar when it is most valuable.
The order also directs Duke Energy to open a solar + storage program within 90 days, approves a $0.36/watt incentive to go solar and approves another monetary incentive to encourage residential energy storage installations.
“This order is a step forward for North Carolina’s rooftop solar market that preserves the ability of residents to choose the power that works for them. North Carolina has boasted a strong utility-scale solar market for years while its rooftop solar industry has lagged. The solar and storage industry thanks the NCUC for approving a glide path that ensures monthly crediting for solar customers through 2026 and provides critical certainty for current customers and those considering going solar,” said Will Giese, Southeast Regional Director for SEIA in a press statement.
“The commission’s approval of a monetary incentive to install solar and storage is a smart, innovative approach, setting the bar for other states in the region to consider the benefits of these technologies for strengthening energy security in the face of extreme weather,” he continued. “SEIA will continue to advocate for policies that open the market for solar installations of all sizes and strengthens energy choice for North Carolinians.”
News item from SEIA
Pete Muller says
The Utility Commission’s order shows you again how powerful Duke Energy is. As a result, the solar customer got the short end of the stick and with it the solar installers. If I were a residential solar installer, I would start looking for a new field to earn my income in. Duke Energy is fighting tooth and nail to keep control over energy production. Using solar energy when it is most valuable is only possible with batteries that are still far too expensive to have a meaningful market penetration. That can be different in 10 to 15 years with new and cheaper battery technologies. But for now only subsidies of greater than 50% of acquisition costs, which will never be implemented, make batteries a somewhat reasonable economic decision. It blows my mind that the UC orders a 3 year glide path to time of use rates for solar customers, although Duke energy did already agree to a 15 year period. This decision is a fierce slap into the face of existing solar customers who based their already expensive solar generation decision on greatly more favorable economics.
Dave, how about this: shame on you. NEM stinks in NC because no one is taking responsibility and overcoming the collective action problem. Rooftop solar owners and installers in NC are completely disorganized and are not meaningfully engaged when or where it matters. To stand a chance against Duke, then they need to get organized and launch an organized multi-year effort. Customers and installers should not rely upon a national trade group or environmental groups to carry their water – they need to carry it themselves. Blaming underfunded organizations with wide mandates and a lack of local rooftop solar expertise for failure to get better results against one of the largest energy corporations in US history is easy, completely ineffective, and part of the problem.
When I quit seeing and hearing messaging like this and instead see meaningful comments where it matters, then I’ll know we’re finally on track to improve roof top solar rates.
Dave Erb says
The only people who benefit from this are the utility scale installers. Homeowners like me get the shaft. If I didn’t have solar at all, I would be paying Duke just under $1000 per year. (Neither this nor any subsequent numbers include tax.)
Under the present net metering protocol, I pay them about $185 plus tax (2.2 cents for every kWh I generate, including the 1300 kWh I self-consume and the 1100 kWh they confiscate), but I’m also providing them with over $200 plus tax of indirect cash flow from RECs and the energy they confiscate. For details, see
Under the new protocols, I’ll be paying them at least $465 (net) cash, plus tax, plus giving them $425 plus tax in indirect cash flow. They’ll be paying me about $82 cash for energy at avoided cost. And that’s just the part I’ve been able to ferret out of the tariff request. The changes make the situation so complicated, I’d be willing to bet they’ve got at least a few more ways to pick my pocket hidden in the fine print.
Frankly, SEIA and the other four “environmentalist” parties that signed on to Duke’s MOU last year, providing them with cover for this travesty, have completely dropped the ball, ethically and intellectually. Shame on them all.