Duke Energy proposes suite of solar programs for South Carolina

Pioneering pro-solar utility Duke Energy has announced a series of PV proposals for the state of South Carolina designed to massively ramp up its renewable energy generation capacity and offer all of its 720,000 customers the chance to participate in a sustainable solar marketplace.

Duke Energy’s proposals to the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) are still awaiting approval, but if confirmed will include community solar offerings, a 50 MW utility-scale solar plant in the state, and the offer of customer rebates for customers that install solar PV arrays on their rooftops.

In total, if all of the proposals are approved the Duke Energy scheme would see the company’s South Carolina’s PV portfolio swell from 2 MW currently to 112 MW by 2021.

According to Duke Energy president Clark Gillespy, the introduction last year of the Distributed Energy Resource Program Act in the state has "opened the door for Duke Energy to offer a suite of solar programs that will expand renewable energy use in South Carolina".

These programs include a customer rebate intended to lower the initial upfront costs of installing a solar PV system. Customers who install a PV array could earn rebates of up to $5,000 under the program, while enjoying the state’s newly introduced net metering rates for the next ten years.

For those South Carolina residents unable to benefit from that scheme, a community solar program will also be rolled-out, enabling rental tenants, schools, churches and community centers to benefit. The "Shared Solar Program" will work by inviting customers to subscribe to a specific solar facility and share in the economic benefits of any solar power produced.

The third string to Duke Energy’s proposal would be the construction of a 50 MW utility-scale PV plant in the state, although further details will not be forthcoming until the proposals are approved by the commission.