Charlotte-based Duke Energy reached an agreement with several South Carolina environmental and business groups Tuesday that could result in increased solar energy use for residents.
The agreement is intended to augment Duke Energy’s Distributed Energy Resource programs, which were filed with the South Carolina Public Service Commission in February and are designed to grow solar capacity in Duke’s South Carolina service area from about 2 to 110 megawatts.
Included in the agreement are several programs that will provide incentives for solar energy use.
“This agreement is a key milestone in bringing South Carolina’s new solar legislation to life,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy president – South Carolina, in a statement.
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Duke Energy, the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, the Coastal Conservation League, the S.C. Solar Business Alliance, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Alliance for Solar Choice filed the agreement, which details solar programs Duke will offer this year.
The programs, subject to approval by the S.C. Public Service Commission, include:
▪ Multiple customers will be able to share a solar facility and receive credit in their monthly bill – about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour produced – for the renewable energy. The program, dubbed “community solar,” is aimed at residential customers like apartment dwellers who might not be able to install a solar facility themselves.
Duke will begin accepting applications in early 2016, once the solar facilities are built.
▪ Duke will offer rebates of $1 per watt to residential and nonresidential customers to install rooftop or small-scale solar on their properties. The company said the typical rooftop installation could earn rebates of about $5,000 over five years.
The utility company will begin accepting applications later this year for the program.
▪ Duke Energy will issue a request for proposals later this year for more than 50 megawatts of large-scale solar facilities. Duke will seek purchase power agreements with 15-year terms and proposals to acquire projects, the company said.
▪ Duke Energy said it’ll form a working group to assess the programs and “keep all parties informed about distributed energy resource developments.”
▪ The company also said it’ll provide additional options for low-income customers to use solar energy in 2016.