New solar net-metering proposal ensures customer benefits while improving grid
RALEIGH, N.C. – Today, solar business and clean energy advocates, including North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Sunrun, and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) on behalf of Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, signed an agreement with Duke Energy supporting the implementation of a new net energy metering program in North Carolina. If approved by the NC Utilities Commission, this agreement will offer Duke Energy’s future net metering customers significant up-front savings when adopting solar including a direct rebate, new solar pricing signals to reduce utility costs for all customers, and preserve electricity bill savings for current net metering customers.
Under both House Bill 589 (2017) and House Bill 951 (2021), the North Carolina Utilities Commission is required to re-examine North Carolina’s net metering policies. The new net metering program is inspired by a similar agreement reached between advocates and Duke Energy in South Carolina and will provide regulatory certainty for both rooftop solar adopters and installers for the next decade. In addition, the agreement should expand the net metered solar market as solar adoption remains a financially attractive option to homeowners and businesses hoping to save on their electricity bills and generate their own clean electricity.
“This program pushes forward progress in North Carolina’s clean energy economy,” says Peter Ledford, General Counsel and Director of Policy at North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. “Not only does it advance the residential solar sector, it also provides a framework and agreement to work collaboratively on the next generation of non-residential net metering. This agreement establishes new price signals and opportunities for homeowners to incorporate innovative technologies with solar—smart thermostats, battery storage, and more.”
“This agreement recognizes the important role that solar can play in keeping the electric grid strong, resilient, and affordable,” said David Neal, Senior Attorney with SELC. “If the full proposal is approved, customers could receive significant up-front savings when adopting solar paired with Duke Energy’s smart thermostat program. In the case of solar panels that are leased, those savings could translate to lower costs over the lifetime of the lease, providing more affordable ways for customers to go solar.”
“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,” said Bryan Jacob, Solar Program Director at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “At the same time, it is important that rates be designed to align customer behavior with controlling utility costs when possible.”
“This agreement reflects the critical role that rooftop solar must play in North Carolina’s economy, clean energy transition, and workforce development,” says Lindsey Hallock, Southeast Senior Regional Director at Vote Solar. “In particular, the inclusion of a low-income solar program to be designed with input from stakeholders can 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.”
About North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is the leading 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that drives public policy and market development for clean energy. NCSEA’s work enables clean energy jobs, economic opportunities, and affordable energy options for all North Carolinians. Learn more about NCSEA, its mission, and vision at www.energync.org
About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes responsible and equitable energy choices to ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Since 1985, SACE has tackled energy challenges and promoted equitable outcomes that help our region’s communities harness the environmental and economic opportunities presented by clean, renewable energy. www.cleanenergy.org
About Vote Solar
Vote Solar’s mission is to make solar a mainstream energy resource across the U.S. Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Vote Solar works to remove regulatory barriers and implement key policies needed to bring solar to scale. www.VoteSolar.org
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
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