Residential Solar gains boost in NC as Duke Energy crafts Net Metering Agreement with Renewable Advocates

Dec. 1, 2021
The net metering agreement, which still needs regulatory approval, would allow for tariffs, create pricing incentives for residential solar customers and rate design mechanisms to collect costs of grid infrastructure needed to serve solar customers

By Rod Walton, EnergyTech Senior Editor

North Carolina-based utility giant Duke Energy has crafted a net metering agreement to benefit the residential solar industry in that state.

Duke filed the agreement with the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Parties in the deal include the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sunrun Inc. and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Net metering is a challenge which arises when residential solar panels produce more energy than the customer needs, so the excess electricity is sent back into the grid and perhaps changing the amount owed to the utility. The deal includes tariffs for net metering, but also pricing incentives for residential solar customers and varying, time-of-day rates.

The agreement still needs North Carolina regulator approval. The framework follows a similar net metering agreement in South Carolina.

“The agreement modernizes rooftop solar economics and unlocks benefits for all customers,” said Lon Huber, Duke Energy’s vice president of strategic solutions. “Net metering has been a contentious issue around the nation, but our stakeholder partners worked together to craft a fair solution that brings financial sustainability to rooftop solar in North Carolina.”

Duke Energy has offered an incentive for private solar ownership over the past three years with its $62 million solar rebate program, which is expected to continue into 2023. Currently, 24,000 North Carolina customers have private solar systems compared to 6,000 at the beginning of 2018.