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Duke Energy Reaches Agreement to Modernize Rooftop Solar Policy in North Carolina

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Duke Energy has filed an agreement with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) that will align solar adopter compensation to utility system benefits and create long-term stability for the residential solar industry in North Carolina.
Duke Energy Reaches Agreement to Modernize Rooftop Solar Policy in North Carolina
Courtesy of Duke Energy

The net metering agreement was crafted by Duke Energy and the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association; the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; Sunrun Inc. and the Solar Energy Industries Association. It must be approved by the NCUC.

"Duke Energy is committed to finding collaborative paths forward to help with the clean-energy transition and carbon-reduction goals in the Carolinas."  said Stephen De May, Duke Energy's North Carolina president. "This deal ensures fair and reasonable treatment for all customers whether they choose to install solar or not."

Duke Energy has encouraged private solar ownership over the past three years with its $62 million solar rebate program, which is expected to continue into 2023. Currently, 24,000 North Carolina customers have private solar systems compared to 6,000 at the beginning of 2018.

"The agreement modernizes rooftop solar economics and unlocks benefits for all customers," said Lon Huber, Duke Energy's vice president of strategic solutions. "Net metering has been a contentious issue around the nation, but our stakeholder partners worked together to craft a fair solution that brings financial sustainability to rooftop solar in North Carolina."

The filing:

  *   Allows for new net metering tariffs to go into effect for customers submitting applications on or after Jan. 1, 2023.
  *   Will create innovative pricing and incentives for residential solar customers.
  *   Features rate design mechanisms to properly collect costs of the grid infrastructure needed to serve solar customers.
  *   Will include cutting-edge retail rates that vary based on the time of day and when the utility is experiencing peak demand.

Bryan Jacob, Solar Program Director at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said, "We believe that it is important to provide a fair valuation of distributed energy resources. Those customers who provide services to the grid with their private investments should be fairly compensated for those services. At the same time, it is important that rates be designed to align customer behavior with controlling utility costs when possible."

Lindsey Hallock, Southeast Senior Regional Director at Vote Solar, added, "This agreement reflects the critical role that rooftop solar must play in North Carolina's economy, clean energy transition and workforce development. In particular, the inclusion of a low-income solar program to be designed with input from stakeholders will bring the voices of low-income customers to the table, remove prohibitive cost barriers and unlock the benefits of solar for more North Carolinians. I'm hopeful that this promising step is one of many toward a 100% renewable energy future for the Carolinas, and that Duke Energy continues to invest heavily in clean energy sources and support for low-income households."

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