- South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) has proposed three solar options for its customers under the terms of 2014’s landmark Distributed Energy Resource Act, a compromise law negotiated by utilities and renewables advocates that could drive a solar boom in the state.
- SCE&G’s generation plan, required by the act, provides incentive rates for individuals’ solar installations, production credits for larger groups like municipalities, schools, and religious organizations that choose community solar, and provides for an as-yet undetermined number of 45 MW solar projects to be built by the utility.
- The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), an advocacy group representing national rooftop solar installation companies, called the plan “bait and switch” because it would keep individual customers who accept the utility’s incentives from earning the retail rate net energy metering (NEM) guaranteed by the act and therefore erodes solar’s value proposition.
The retail rate NEM secured in the act allows rooftop solar owners to sell solar energy-generated electricity to the utility at the same rate they pay for it when they buy it from the utility until 2021.
Both Duke Energy Carolinas and SCE&G, the state’s major utilities, have filed renewable-generation plans. TASC did not attack Duke’s proposal. The South Carolina Public Service Commission must approve both.
Using terminology likely to incite debate, TASC’s Susan Glick said SCE&G’s plan will tax rooftop solar owners, block their use of on-site solar energy-generated electricity, and make it possible for SCE&G to raise solar owners’ rates.
“What they are proposing is this program that is called a buy-all, sell-all, or a Feed-In tariff,” she said.
SCE&G said the incentive programs can be accepted or rejected by customers, who can also choose NEM.
The S.C. Coastal Conservation League, which was central in crafting the act, is still assessing the plans.