Settlement Agreement Announced between Duke Energy, Conservation Groups on Solar Incentive Programs
Charleston, S.C. — Conservation groups reached a settlement agreement this week between Duke Energy, solar business interests, and other stakeholders on proposed solar programs that will significantly boost solar capacity in Duke Energy’s South Carolina service area.
The South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, signed a settlement agreement filed Monday with Duke Energy and other intervening parties regarding the utility’s Distributed Energy Resource (DER) programs designed to spur investments in residential and commercial solar.
“Cooperation by the parties and facilitation by the Office of Regulatory Staff continues to be an effective, collaborative approach to speed solar deployment in our state,” said Blan Holman of the Southern Environmental Law Center. “We applaud Duke Energy for choosing to employ these programs that will bring more renewable power to South Carolinians.”
The settlement agreement is the latest step in carrying out Act 236, landmark legislation enacted last year that will provide unprecedented access to solar for Duke’s South Carolinian customers in 2015 if the programs are approved by the Public Service Commission.
Under the agreement, Duke’s proposed programs include greater access to shared solar--also referred to as community solar--allowing customers who may not have the ability to install individual solar systems (such as residents in an apartment complex) to receive power from a shared solar system and get credit on their monthly bill from the power generated.
Duke will also issue a request for proposals (RFP) for more than 50 megawatts of large-scale solar projects later this year, and has agreed to solicit purchase power agreements with 15-year terms.
“The offerings in Duke’s programs will enable all kinds of customers – renters, homeowners and businesses – to control energy costs and invest in renewable, pollution-free power,” said Toni Nelson of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “The proposed agreement includes checks to ensure that Duke’s programs stay efficient and lean, and that customer costs are kept to a minimum.”
As a result of its proposed programs, Duke is anticipating 111 MW of new solar capacity in South Carolina by 2021. Provisions included in the settlement agreement will help Duke achieve at least 2% of its peak load from solar by 2021, creating the opportunity for the utility to pursue further investments for additional solar capacity.
“The DER incentive programs proposed by Duke Energy pave the way to bring the benefits of affordable, clean energy to more South Carolinians than ever before,” said Hamilton Davis of the Coastal Conservation League. “Opening access to increasingly affordable solar power can help families stabilize their energy costs, encouraging investments in clean energy that will make their communities healthier and more resilient.”
Southern Environmental Law Center:
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.SouthernEnvironment.org
Coastal Conservation League:
Since 1989, the Coastal Conservation League has been working with communities, businesses, other conservation and citizen groups to protect what we love about the South Carolina coast. From the white sand beaches and pristine marshes to the freshwater swamps and pine savannahs, we focus on the most efficient and effective ways to protect natural habitats, the wildlife that depends on them and the variety of benefits they bring to this state. We also believe that the communities we live in, the air we breathe and the water we depend upon are important and that our quality of life deserves the same high level of attention. To learn more, go to www.scccl.org.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy:
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of Global Climate Change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org