Duke Energy prepares for second round of residential solar rebates in North Carolina

Duke Energy

Duke Energy has opened the window for another wave of North Carolina customers to apply for its solar rebate program — a program that saw more than 1,300 customers in 2018 after launching in the summer.

The Duke Energy solar rebate program is one of many customer programs the company is implementing as part of the Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina law passed in 2017. The rebates have helped many residential and business customers take the solar leap.

“We are proud to make Birdsong the first Charlotte brewery to go solar,” said Chris Goulet, president of Birdsong Brewery. “Partnering with Duke Energy and its solar rebate program made the project’s economics even more attractive. The company’s solar installation is a big step toward making our organization more sustainable.”

The company began accepting new applications from customers on Jan. 2 for an additional 20 megawatts of new rooftop solar installations for residential, non-residential and nonprofit customers.

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Duke Energy reports that more than $6 million was distributed to customers in 2018. The program will run through 2022, with an estimated 7,500 customers expected to receive Duke Energy rebates for solar systems.

Per the N.C. Utilities Commission order earlier in the year, the company will also reallocate any 2018 capacity for projects that have not been installed. That means customers who were waitlisted in 2018 with already-installed projects will be allowed to collect any available rebates. Any unconnected customers, or those that connected projects Oct. 3, 2018, or later, are eligible to apply in 2019.

Under the program, residential customers are eligible for a rebate of 60 cents per watt for solar energy systems 10 kilowatts (kW) or less. For example, a typical rooftop array of 8 kW is eligible for a $4,800 rebate. Installed systems 10 kW or greater are eligible for a maximum rebate of $6,000.

Nonresidential customers are eligible for 50 cents per watt. Nonprofit customers (such as churches and schools) are eligible for an enhanced rebate of 75 cents per watt for systems 100 kW or less.

— Solar Builder magazine

Duke Energy received four times its bid target for its Carolinas RFP

Duke Energy

Duke Energy opened up the the Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy (CPRE) as part of the Competitive Energy Solutions Law for North Carolina, back in July and was overwhelmed with bids. In the first tranche, Duke Energy is seeking 680 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity for the Carolinas, comprised of 600 MW in Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) and 80 MW in Duke Energy Progress (DEP). The bids received totaled more than 4 times the target amount for DEC and 15 times the amount for DEP.

In total, there were 78 total projects that bid – representing more than 3,900 MW of renewable energy. Both North Carolina and South Carolina received strong responses, with bids representing about 2,000 MW for North Carolina and bids representing 1,900 MW for South Carolina.

“We are pleased with the robust response to the CPRE program and are confident the program goals will be met for the Carolinas,” said Independent Administrator, Harry Judd of the Accion Group, who will evaluate projects during the bidding process.

Projects in both states are eligible to bid. Duke Energy businesses may also bid, but will only be awarded projects if they are among the most cost-effective judged by the Independent Administrator. No more than 30 percent of the total RFP can be awarded to proposals in which Duke Energy has an ownership stake at the time of bidding.

North Carolina is No. 2 in the nation for overall solar capacity, and the CPRE is one of several key programs Duke Energy is implementing as part of the new renewable energy law – sometimes referred to as HB 589. Under the law, all bids must be priced below the utility’s avoided cost so the program will benefit customers by bringing lower-cost solar energy to the Carolinas versus traditional PIRPA rates.

“While it is still early in the process, the number and diversity of bids submitted represent an important and positive step for a clean energy future in the Carolinas, where customers will benefit,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology.

Winning proposals will be selected in the spring and the companies will move forward with executing power purchase, interconnection and other necessary agreements with the selected projects.

— Solar Builder magazine

Duke Energy received four times its bid target for its Carolinas RFP

Duke Energy

Duke Energy opened up the the Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy (CPRE) as part of the Competitive Energy Solutions Law for North Carolina, back in July and was overwhelmed with bids. In the first tranche, Duke Energy is seeking 680 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity for the Carolinas, comprised of 600 MW in Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) and 80 MW in Duke Energy Progress (DEP). The bids received totaled more than 4 times the target amount for DEC and 15 times the amount for DEP.

In total, there were 78 total projects that bid – representing more than 3,900 MW of renewable energy. Both North Carolina and South Carolina received strong responses, with bids representing about 2,000 MW for North Carolina and bids representing 1,900 MW for South Carolina.

“We are pleased with the robust response to the CPRE program and are confident the program goals will be met for the Carolinas,” said Independent Administrator, Harry Judd of the Accion Group, who will evaluate projects during the bidding process.

Projects in both states are eligible to bid. Duke Energy businesses may also bid, but will only be awarded projects if they are among the most cost-effective judged by the Independent Administrator. No more than 30 percent of the total RFP can be awarded to proposals in which Duke Energy has an ownership stake at the time of bidding.

North Carolina is No. 2 in the nation for overall solar capacity, and the CPRE is one of several key programs Duke Energy is implementing as part of the new renewable energy law – sometimes referred to as HB 589. Under the law, all bids must be priced below the utility’s avoided cost so the program will benefit customers by bringing lower-cost solar energy to the Carolinas versus traditional PIRPA rates.

“While it is still early in the process, the number and diversity of bids submitted represent an important and positive step for a clean energy future in the Carolinas, where customers will benefit,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology.

Winning proposals will be selected in the spring and the companies will move forward with executing power purchase, interconnection and other necessary agreements with the selected projects.

— Solar Builder magazine

Duke Energy launches plan to own, operate non-residential solar sites in North Carolina

Duke energy commercial solar

Duke Energy is jumping into the non-residential solar business. The company recently filed to be a certified solar lessor with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) and plans to build, own and operate on-site solar facilities. DECER is not financially supported by either Duke Energy Carolinas or Duke Energy Progress, Duke Energy’s operating companies in the Carolinas.

“Customers want more solar power for their operations, but the large upfront investment can be an obstacle,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. “Through DECER, we will be competing to provide customers a turnkey solar solution to meet their renewable energy goals, while managing the ongoing operations and maintenance of the facility.”

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Caldwell added that DECER will target businesses, and will mainly use local solar construction and maintenance companies to work on projects. Under DECER’s offering, companies can negotiate for solar facilities up to 1-MW of capacity – roughly 100 times the size of a typical residential home system. The agreement will have a term of up to 20 years. Customers will be able to use 100 percent of the electrical output of the facilities and be eligible for any rebates and net-metering options offered by Duke Energy. DECER will handle all the ongoing maintenance of the facilities.

Before beginning operation in North Carolina, Duke Energy must receive approval from the NCUC. Complete details of the NCUC filing can be found here. Duke Energy can already offer such services in South Carolina.

— Solar Builder magazine

Duke Energy is seeing strong demand for its solar rebate deal in North Carolina (16 MW so far)

Duke Energy solar rebate

Home with solar panels on the roof. The house is located in Chatham County, N.C.

Duke Energy’s North Carolina solar rebate program has attracted significant interest from customers, with more than 1,500 applying for the incentive to install private solar systems in the first few weeks of the program’s launch.

The rebate offering, which opened July 9 to all Duke Energy customers in the state, is part of a five-year, $62 million program designed to support customers who want to install solar systems at their homes or businesses.
As a result of the popularity of the program, there is a waiting list for the residential and nonresidential categories for 2018 capacity.

Due to the first-come, first-served application rule of the program, the company is seeking permission from the N.C. Utilities Commission (NCUC) to allow residential and nonresidential customers who installed systems between Jan. 1, 2018, and July 26, 2018, another opportunity to apply for the rebate program in 2019. There is still capacity left for nonprofit customers this year.

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About 16 megawatts of new solar capacity has been accepted for rebates – totaling about $9 million. Overall, up to 20 MW of new capacity is expected to be added each year during the five-year program. At the start of 2018, Duke Energy had about 5,000 customers with private solar in North Carolina, with a total capacity of about 50 MW.
Information for the rebate program can be found at: duke-energy.com/home/products/renewable-energy/nc-solar-rebates.

Solar rebate program

Under the program, residential customers are eligible for a rebate of 60 cents per watt for solar energy systems 10 kilowatts (kW) or less. For example, a typical rooftop array of 8 kW is eligible for a $4,800 rebate. Installed systems 10 kW or greater are eligible for a maximum rebate of $6,000.

Nonresidential customers are eligible for 50 cents per watt. Nonprofit customers (such as churches and schools) are eligible for an enhanced rebate of 75 cents per watt for systems 100 kW or less.

The rebates are divided into maximum annual allotments of 20 MW and are on a first-come, first-served basis – depending on when the customer application is submitted.

— Solar Builder magazine