Two major Duke Energy solar programs are rolling out this month in North Carolina, both of which should help increase the amount of solar energy on the North Carolina grid.
Under North Carolina’s competitive bidding provision, Duke Energy issued an RFP for projects totaling 680 MW of new renewable energy capacity. The bids can come from any company, including Duke Energy, and can be in the form of a power purchase agreement (PPA), utility self-developed facilities or asset acquisitions. Proposals must be for a single facility between 1 and 80 MW and capable of being placed in service prior to Jan. 1, 2021.
Bids for new projects are due Sept. 11. Details on the RFP can be found on the independent administrator’s website.
Duke’s five-year, $62 million solar rebate program, which began accepting applications this week, allows residential customers to apply for rebates of US 60 cents per watt for solar energy systems 10 kilowatts (kW) or less. Installed systems 10 kW or greater would be eligible for a maximum rebate of $6,000. Nonresidential customers are eligible for 50 cents per watt. Nonprofit customers (such as churches and schools) would be eligible for an enhanced rebate of 75 cents per watt for systems 100 kW or less. Installed systems 100 kW or greater would be eligible for a maximum rebate of $50,000 for nonresidential customers, or $75,000 for nonprofit customers.
Customers will also have a solar leasing option. Instead of owning the system, customers can lease solar panels from another company. Much like leasing a car, a third-party leasing agency owns the system while the customer has a contract to use the output of the solar panels.
Duke Energy already has more than 2,500 MW of solar capacity connected to its grid, which includes those owned by Duke Energy and those owned and operated by other companies. Overall, North Carolina is the No. 2 state in the nation for solar power capacity, said Duke.