Duke program produces 40 MW of solar in South Carolina

Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program has helped South Carolina residents plan to install more than 40 MW of solar.

More than 1,800 residential customers and 125 business customers have applied to participate in Duke’s program, and the utility says it will have paid nearly $12 million in rebates to South Carolina customers by the end of the year.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, South Carolina had 65 MW installed by the end of 2015, making Duke’s contribution a nearly 62% increase of the total in only one year. It also represents a 10-fold increase of the total solar that was installed in the state last year.

In 2014, South Carolina General Assembly passed Act 236, an omnibus solar bill passed by the in 2014, which allowed Duke Energy to offer new solar programs to South Carolina customers. The rebates help with the upfront cost of installing solar panels for customers – making the technology more accessible to the company’s 730,000 customers in the state.

For example, the rebate program provides $1 per watt for qualified residential customers who install systems up to 20 kilowatts on their property and for business customers who install systems up to 1 megawatt on their property.

Nonprofit and governmental entities may be eligible to receive a rebate of $1.50 per watt for systems up to 20 kilowatts on their property.

The scheduled installations put Duke more than halfway to the 53 MW goal cited by the act. As the rebate program reaches capacity, the utility has a waiting list has been established for some of the offerings associated with this program.

Following on the success of its 2016 program, Duke will offer a Shared Solar Program in 2017, giving residents without the ability or desire to put solar panels on their properties to create community solar arrays. In most community-solar systems, participants purchase electricity from an array shared by a group of subscribers.

In North Carolina, Duke has also awarded a $450,000 grant to help Greensboro’s (N.C.) Department of Transportation (GDOT) change its diesel buses to electric buses. The grandt will allow the city to install an electric charging station for the all-electric buses.

The grant is only the latest part of Duke’s overall $1.5 million “EV Charging Infrastructure Project” — expanding charging for electric vehicles throughout North Carolina. Greensboro could have its first two or three electric buses on the streets by 2018.

The Duke program is part of a recent settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups.