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Solar Bill Bad Deal — Letter to the Editor of the News & Observer

Regarding “Residents could get rooftop solar option” (June 7): Duke Energy and legislative leaders sold North Carolina a bag of beans with the Competitive Energy Solutions bill.

Hyped as a consensus bill, House Bill 589 was actually negotiated behind closed doors (environmental groups were shut out) then fast-tracked for approval without public input.

While possibly providing a short-term, limited boost to a few large-scale solar producers, this bill will further damage North Carolina’s rooftop solar industry and protect Duke’s monopoly against competition. The key selling point, that the measure will open rooftop solar leasing, is deceptive and hollow.

Already allowed by state law, leasing rarely works for solar companies or customers. A similar, competitive practice that does work for many of them, third-party sales, would be killed by the bill.

Even worse, the bill allows Duke Energy to attack rooftop solar by adding fees to customers and lowering net-metering payments. Duke would decide when and how much power it will purchase from large-scale solar producers, bid against them for projects and offer less favorable contract terms.

The full price of an installed system now runs $10,000 to $15,000 for the average home, a great deal for those able to afford it. Lawmakers of both parties should agree that North Carolinians deserve democratic state policy making, not backroom deals followed by deceptive publicity.

Rita Leadem
Assistant Director, NC WARN

Read letter as published in the News & Observer, Charlotte Observer and News & Record

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