Solar panels at Merino Mill
Duke Energy began rolling out a $62 million program this month to provide an incentive for customers to install solar panels, the company announced Tuesday.
Under the program, residential customers who install solar panel systems could receive a rebate of up to $6,000. Nonresidential customers, including businesses, can get a rebate of up to $50,000. Nonprofits, including churches and schools, can get up to $75,000.
The program will cost $62 million over the next five years. During that time, the number of private solar energy customers in North Carolina is expected to more than double, according to Duke. Right now about 7,000 customers use solar energy.
Still, solar is a small portion of Duke's 3.2 million total customers in the state.
In part, that's because installing solar systems is expensive. The average cost of installing a system in Charlotte is $16,200, according to estimates by EnergySage.
The rebates aim to help offset part of that cost.
Customers have within 90 days of installing solar panels to apply for the program. Anyone who installed in 2018 has 90 days from the program launch date to apply for the rebate.
Rebates will be issued on a first-come basis, based on when customers apply. Customers will also be able to lease, instead of buy, solar panels.
Residential customers will get 60 cents per watt of solar energy systems. A typical rooftop setup of 8 kilowatts would be eligible for a $4,800 rebate. Customers would reach the maximum rebate of $6,000 at 10 kilowatts.
"Duke Energy's solar rebates and the competitive bidding program have been highly anticipated and will drive further solar-related investment, job creation and economic development for North Carolina," Duke Energy's North Carolina president David Fountain said in a statement.
A similar Duke rebate program in South Carolina for solar panel systems has already issued $50 million in rebates in its program expected to end this year.
To apply for the rebates visit: duke-energy.com/NCSolarRebates.