- Duke Energy has reached a deal with several stakeholders to increase the amount of solar generation in South Carolina, including agreeing to contract for more than 50 MW of community solar capacity.
- The utility also agreed to begin taking applications later this year for a residential solar rebate program that will return $1 per watt to customers over a five-year period.
- The agreement stems from legislation approved last year aimed at boosting South Carolina's solar capacity, which has been slow to grow because of the state's low power prices.
There is not a lot of solar power in South Carolina. The Palmetto State has been slow to embrace the renewable resource because, as Charlotte Business Journal points out, the state's power rates are among the lowest in the nation. But last year Gov. Nikki Haley signed legislation to boost the state's renewable power, including opening up rooftop solar leasing and allowing utilities to recoup the costs of building generation.
Duke Energy this week announced it had struck a deal with several groups to greatly expand the solar capacity on its system, including more than 50 MW of community solar and provisions for rebates that could reach $5,000 per homeowner. As part of the community solar program, Duke Energy said it would solicit purchase power agreements with 15-year terms and proposals to acquire projects.
"This agreement is a key milestone in bringing South Carolina's new solar legislation to life," Clark Gillespy, president of Duke Energy South Carolina., said in a statement. "The continued collaborative spirit here in South Carolina is remarkable and will benefit our customers across the state."
Duke's plans could grow solar on its system from about 2 MW to about 110 MW, the company said.
The agreement involved Duke Energy and the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, the Coastal Conservation League, the S.C. Solar Business Alliance, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, the Alliance for Solar Choice, and others.