Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Duke Energy reaches agreement with solar stakeholders

Staff Report //September 17, 2020//

Duke Energy reaches agreement with solar stakeholders

Staff Report //September 17, 2020//

Listen to this article

Duke Energy has reached an agreement with players in the S.C. solar energy industry to establish net-metering standards for rooftop solar. Duke says the deal, if approved by regulators, will create long-term stability for the energy company and as well as residential solar in South Carolina.

Representatives from the solar industry include installers, environmental groups and renewable energy advocates, according to a news release from Duke.

Net metering allows owners of a home or business to store energy in the electric grid. According to EnergySage, when energy panels on the roof of a home or business produce more electricity than the owner needs, that energy is sent to the grid in exchange for credits. Then, at night or other times when panels are underproducing, the home pulls energy from the grid.

The deal provides options for customers while allowing the energy company to address increasing electric demand periods in the winter, the news release said. It also ensures that Duke can still charge a fee to rooftop solar owners for fixed costs of operating the grid.

Called Solar Choice Net Metering, the proposed plan “could be the next generation of net energy metering for the Carolinas, a billing process that credits small customers with rooftop solar arrays for excess electricity they generate and provide to Duke Energy via the grid.”

Solar Choice Net Metering will include retail rates that vary based on the time of day and when utilities experience peak demand, the release said. The plan also will give customers the ability to install a smart thermostat with their solar panels and receive an incentive for doing so.

“This first-of-a-kind package completely modernizes the rooftop solar transaction,” Lon Huber, Duke Energy's vice president for rate design and strategic solutions, said in the release. “This new arrangement not only recognizes the value of solar and the enabling energy grid, but it unlocks additional benefits for all customers by addressing when utilities experience peak demand across their systems in the Carolinas."

Organizations participating in the effort include renewable energy advocates Vote Solar and North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association; the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Upstate Forever and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; and rooftop solar installer Sunrun, the release said.

Duke Energy expects to submit the proposed plan to the S.C. Public Service Commission in November. It also includes North Carolina customers, so it also needs approval from that state’s regulators, the release said.