Solar advocates work with Duke Energy on new North Carolina net-metering program

Solar and clean energy advocates, including the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), SEIA, Sunrun, and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) on behalf of Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, signed an aagreement with Duke Energy supporting the implementation of a new net energy metering program in North Carolina. If approved by the NC Utilities Commission, this agreement will provide Duke Energy’s prospective customers with significant savings in the adoption of solar energy, including an immediate discount, new solar price signals to reduce energy costs for all customers and the savings on the electricity bill for current customers with net meters.

Both House Bill 589 (2017) and House Bill 951 (2021) require the NC Utilities Commission to reexamine North Carolina’s netting policy. The new grid metering program is inspired by a similar agreement reached between attorneys and Duke Energy in South Carolina and will provide regulatory certainty for both rooftop solar users and installers for the next decade. In addition, the agreement should expand the solar energy market by a net meter, as using solar energy remains a financially attractive option for homeowners and businesses hoping to save on their electric bills and generate their own clean electricity.

The companies developed the revised rates using a Comprehensive Rate Design Study. Highlights from the agreement include:

  • Credits for each net monthly export at an annual rate (weighted average rate for all hours assuming a fixed energy block) for avoided energy costs
  • A monthly grid access fee for solar installations with a capacity greater than 15 kWDC
  • A monthly minimum invoice that allows for recovery of costs related to the distribution system
  • Non-bridgeable costs to cover all costs related to DSM/EE, storm recovery and cybersecurity
  • Ability for customers installing netted generation prior to the introduction of new rates to choose to keep their existing rates until January 1, 2027

“This program advances progress in North Carolina’s clean energy economy,” said Peter Ledford, general counsel and policy director at the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. “Not only does it advance the residential solar industry, it also provides a framework and agreement to collaborate on the next generation of non-residential grid metering. This agreement provides new price signals and opportunities for homeowners to integrate innovative technologies with solar energy – smart thermostats, battery storage and more.”

News release from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association

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