Duke Energy seeks approval of solar initiatives in South Carolina

The Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress units of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) on Feb. 10 proposed several solar power programs to the Public Service Commission of South Carolina that will greatly expand options for customers to use renewable energy.

The programs must be approved by the commission before they can be offered to the company’s 720,000 Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress customers in the state. The programs will add up to 110 MW of solar energy by 2021. Currently, less than 2 MW of solar capacity is connected to Duke Energy in South Carolina, Duke noted in a Feb. 10 statement. These are the company’s first wide-ranging solar programs in the state.

“The passage of the Distributed Energy Resource Program Act in 2014 opened the door for Duke Energy to offer a suite of solar programs that will expand renewable energy use in South Carolina,” said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy president–South Carolina. “These diverse options will allow customers the ability to participate in a sustainable solar energy marketplace.”

Among the offerings are:

  • Customer rebates – To encourage rooftop solar, Duke Energy will offer rebates to customers who install rooftop or small-scale solar on their property. A typical rooftop installation could earn rebates of about $5,000 under the program.
  • Community solar – Customers who often are unable to participate in renewable energy options – including nonprofit organizations, churches, community centers, renters and schools – can benefit from Duke Energy’s community solar offering. The “Shared Solar Program” will allow multiple customers to subscribe to a specific solar facility and share in the economic benefits of the power produced.
  • Utility-scale solar – Duke Energy expects to issue a request for proposals this year for more than 50 MW of large-scale solar in the state. 

Duke Energy said it has already contributed $2m to Palmetto Clean Energy (PaCE), a nonprofit organization that promotes the development of renewable energy resources. Through PaCE, the company funded a pilot program that provided matching grants to K-12 schools and not-for-profit educational institutions interested in installing rooftop solar systems.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.