Duke proposes 110MW of solar options

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Duke Energy has proposed solar energy programs based on last year’s solar net metering agreement that could add 110 megawatts of solar energy in South Carolina by 2021. Less than 2 megawatts of solar capacity is currently connected to Duke Energy in the state, according to a news release.

Duke submitted proposals for several programs to the S.C. Public Service Commission, which must give its approval before the company can move forward.

Based on the Distributed Energy Resource Program Act passed last year, the programs include rebates for rooftop solar installations, community-based solar and utility-scale solar, according to documents filed with the commission.

Duke plans to increase the number of customer-generators from fewer than 10 at the beginning of 2015 to several thousand by 2021, which will “help reduce the capital requirements to access distributed generation and allow for greater participation in this nascent marketplace,” according to commission documents.

Duke proposed three customer initiatives to make this happen, primarily offering credits to eligible net metering customer generators, offering solar rebates designed to encourage customers to invest in or lease solar panels, and offering retail customers the option to subscribe and share in the economic benefits of one renewable energy facility.

Duke also plans to build 50 megawatts of large-scale solar in the state, the company said.

The company estimates that the distributed energy resource program would have an annual impact of $12 per residential account, $120 per commercial account and $1,200 per industrial account by 2020.

“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 Duke Energy South Carolina President Clark Gillespy in a statement. “These diverse options will allow customers the ability to participate in a sustainable solar energy marketplace.”

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