Duke creates REC program for individual retail customers in North Carolina

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Duke Energy has launched a new program for North Carolina customers who want to guarantee that the electricity that they use is renewably-generated, even if they can’t install solar on their residence.

Under what has been dubbed the Renewable Advantage program, Duke customers can choose to add an additional charge to their bill ($3, according to Duke), which goes towards supporting the generation of 250-kWh blocks of electricity from renewable energy resources. Each block of Renewable Advantage is equal to one-quarter of a renewable energy certificate (REC). There is no limit to how many blocks a customer can purchase in a month.

The energy sold under the Renewable Advantage program will come 95% from solar projects and 5% from biomass. Interestingly, Duke estimates that just 25% of the electricity sold under the program will be generated in North Carolina and doesn’t list where the rest will come from.

Renewables in education

Providing customers with the opportunity to buy RECs isn’t the only objective of the Renewable Advantage program, as Duke will be putting 50¢ from every $3 block of energy purchased towards funding NC GreenPower’s Solar+ Schools program.

Founded in 2015, Solar+ Schools is a grant program open to all K-12 North Carolina, with the goal of educating students on renewable energy through hands-on experience. Each grant recipient is given a 5-kW array with a weather station, data monitoring equipment and a STEM curriculum package.

To date, the program has sent packages to 32 schools in 27 counties across the state. And, while education is the main objective of the program, recipient schools see approximately $700-$800 in annual electricity savings due to their new system.

This is also not the first time that Duke has supported the Solar+ Schools program. In the first year of the program’s operation, Duke provided a $300,000 grant, which allowed eight schools to put up their own solar installations.