Almost three years after its launch, the Duke Energy Solar Rebate Program has provided more than $50 million in rebates to its South Carolina customers who have invested in solar power.
The rebate program — designed to help defray the upfront cost of solar installation — was launched after the Distributed Energy Resource Program Act (Act 336) passed in 2014, according to a news release. The legislation increased on-site solar production limits and allowed utilities to build solar and regain the costs.
“Act 236 has been a game changer for the growth of solar in the Palmetto State,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s state president in South Carolina, in the release. “That collaborative effort among solar developers, energy companies, environmentalists, and other stakeholders has created jobs and allowed thousands of customers to participate in the renewable marketplace.”
Currently, Duke Energy offers a small and large solar rebate program. Both offer $1 per watt of installed generating capacity direct current. The small rebate is open to residents with solar panel systems producing 20 kilowatts (kW) or less. The large rebate program is open to businesses producing more than 20 kilowatts and less than 1,000 kilowatts.
This means a residential customer who installs a 5-kilowatt system could earn rebates of about $5,000 under the small solar rebate program. Likewise, a business that installs 50 kilowatts could earn a rebate of $50,000. Customers typically receive rebates a month after the solar installation is online and certified by Duke Energy.
More than 675 schools and businesses and 1,400 residential customers are currently receiving solar rebates, according to Duke Energy. In 2017, Glen Raven Inc., a North Carolina-based fabric manufacturing and marketing company, constructed a $2 million solar farm at its Sunbrella manufacturing center in Anderson County. The company should receive a payback in less than five years through the Duke Energy rebate program, said Edmund Gant, sustainable development manager at Glen Raven Custom Fabrics.
Furman University also signed up for the program and built a $1.7 million solar farm on about 6 acres along Poinsett Highway in northern Greenville County. The 743-kilowatt project is the largest solar installation on a college campus in South Carolina. Duke Energy plans to issue a $997,000 rebate to the university.
Interested residents must be receiving electric service from Duke Energy and own the property where solar is installed. Once the program is fully subscribed, customers can install more solar power using tax credits through the state and federal government.
For more information, visit duke-energy.com/SCSolarRebates.