Duke Energy proposed a program Monday that would allow its South Carolina commercial and industrial customers to contract with renewable energy providers through the utility for up to 150 MW of clean energy capacity statewide.
The Green Source Advantage (GSA) tariff program would add 150 MW of "reserved renewable capacity" for C&I customers, giving giving them bill credits for electricity generated from solar sites "not located on the customers' premises." Customers will also receive renewable energy certificates.
- Customers will be served on a first come, first served basis and are responsible for negotiating "all price terms with a supplier of a renewable energy facility," according to the utility's filing with the PSC, while not holding any nonparticipating customers accountable for those costs.
Duke's new program would increase renewable energy options for C&I customers in South Carolina, where third party renewable energy contracts are not legal.
Under the program, eligible customers would negotiate contract terms to purchase clean energy from facilities in Duke's service areas. The utility would then buy the power and pass bill credits onto the customer, while ensuring "other customers are held financially neutral," according to Duke's filing.
Duke credits South Carolina's Act 236 in its press release for driving the impetus behind its new large customer renewables plan.
The legislation passed in 2014 aims to encourage renewables adoption in the state. The utility hit the Act's net metering cap of 2% earlier this year for residential solar and has since petitioned the state to extend that cap.
However, as the cost of solar continues to drop, Duke is also addressing clean energy demand from its non-residential customers.
"We've received significant interest from our large commercial and industrial customers in offering programs that help them meet their sustainability goals," said Duke Energy's South Carolina President Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe in a statement.
Green tariff programs have been approved or proposed in 15 states since 2013, according to the filing, and give customers the option to purchase their energy more directly from designated GSA facilities.
The utility hopes to hear a final decision from regulators by the end of the year, but the timing "is totally up to the commission" Duke Energy spokesperson Ryan Mosier told Utility Dive in an email.
The announcement comes after the utility last week revealed plans to spend $500 million on battery storage over the next 15 years, which could increase the region's storage capacity by twenty-fold.