Duke Energy seeks massive penalty against NC WARN, but the Christian Coalition, other faith and conservation groups join state and national solar industry to seek an end to monopoly control of rooftops
|To support our Solar Freedom test case at the NC Utilities Commission, email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org|
(reference “docket SP-100 Sub 31” in the subject line).
Statement by Director Jim Warren:
DURHAM, NC – A round of legal filings were submitted Friday by parties in the test case over nonprofit NC WARN selling solar power to an African American community church in Greensboro. Our brief includes an admonishment of Duke Energy for grossly misrepresenting our core legal position, and for seeking a $120,000 punishment of NC WARN.
We also urged the NC Utilities Commission to conduct a hearing for oral arguments due to a number of complicated and nuanced legal positions presented by the many parties in the case.
Duke Energy’s lawyers and PR spokespeople continue claiming that NC WARN and the church are “willfully” breaking the law. But with our initial June filing, which asked the Commission to clarify the legality of the sale – and many times since – we have made a strong argument that a nonprofit selling solar power to another nonprofit is allowable under state law.
We also maintain that the Commission should be encouraging such third-party financing because it is consistent with state law promoting clean, affordable energy and with state law disallowing monopolies. Duke Energy contends that its state-approved monopoly status means no other entity can sell electricity within its captive service areas.
Attorneys for other parties joining the case are seeking a broader approval of third-party solar financing, not just between nonprofits. A host of faith-based, public interest and solar industry groups are also calling for expansive third-party financing, which nationally has been a critical factor in opening up the rooftop solar power market.
Supporting Parties in the Case
NC Interfaith Power & Light, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Energy Freedom Coalition of America (SolarCity, Silevo Solar, Zep Solar), the NC Sustainable Energy Association
Other Groups Submitting Letters of Support
The Christian Coalition of NC. A joint letter was submitted by Action NC, Appalachian Voices, Canary Coalition, Clean Air Carolina, Environment NC, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, the Hindu Center of Charlotte, Holy Covenant United Church of Christ, NC Conservation Network, Food and Water Watch, NC League of Conservation Voters, NC Sierra Club, SHIFT the Climate, Little Tree Farm and Retreat Ministry, Muslim American Society of Charlotte, Being There, Universal Institute for Successful Aging of the Carolinas
Scores of comments from the public have also been submitted, all supporting NC WARN and Faith Community Church’s Solar Freedom project.
All filings can be found at the Utilities Commission page for our Docket (SP-100 Sub 31).
Photos and video footage of workers installing the solar panels can be found here.