- State tax credits for renewable energy generation in North Carolina have been on the rise for years, and last year, $245 million was claimed by residents and corporations—almost twice as much as in 2015, according to the Raleigh News & Observer
- The newspaper digs into the 150-page document from the North Carolina Department of Revenue, concluding that insurance companies, utilities and banks were the biggest beneficiaries of the tax credit last year. For instance, Duke Energy claimed $24 million in credits last year.
- However, the news outlet reports the amount is likely to begin falling as credits for solar and other renewable energy technologies expired last year.
North Carolina's generous 35% state tax credit for investment in renewable energy helped the state become a leader in solar energy, but that growth will likely slow now that the credits are gone. But the state will still be paying out tax credits for a while, as residents and companies were allowed to spread them out over five years.
The amount of the tax credits has risen sharply in recent years, as utilities added renewable energy, and then as the credits were about to expire, accelerating project development.
Insurance companies appear prominently on the list of credit recipients: Blue Cross and Blue Shield claimed $37 million last year; Duke Energy claimed $24 million; Wells Fargo claimed $13 million.
It's not clear how big of a shift the expiring credits mean for North Carolina renewables—particularly as a Republican lawmaker wants to eliminate the states clean energy mandate. Rep. Chris Millis (R) introduced a bill to eliminate the state's renewable energy portfolio standard, arguing the mandate has cost the state far more than anticipated, WRAL.com reports.
The renewable standard is currently at 6% and will rise to 10% next year, before reaching 12.5% in 2021. Under the bill, the standard would be frozen at the current level and tax credits for solar energy would be repealed.
According to Millis, North Carolina has doled out $1.6 billion in tax credits to renewable energy in the last seven years, and the mandate has driven up power bills in the state. Similar efforts to roll back the mandate were unsuccessful in recent legislative sessions.