Since the program launched during the summer, Solarize Chatham County has installed 56 solar panel systems on homes, which will generate 319 kilowatts of solar power, according to Jim Warren of N.C. Warn, a Durham-based clean energy advocate.
SolarCity will begin offering loans to homeowners for solar systems, a move that industry analysts say could reshape the market for rooftop solar and propel its rapid adoption.
Added Jim Warren, executive director of North Carolina-based environmental group NC WARN: “Some parts of the Duke Energy company are doing some wonderful, progressive things. What about us? What about your monopoly prisoners in these southeastern states?”
Duke’s solar announcement today is a good step. But it’s the ONLY step Duke plans to make toward renewables for its Carolinas customers – according to its newly filed long-range plans – over the next 15 years. Meanwhile, Duke is actively working to stifle the growth of large-scale and rooftop solar in NC – in the ongoing case at the Utilities Commission.
Duke Energy is making a $500 million commitment to a major expansion of solar power in North Carolina. The company will acquire and construct three solar facilities — totaling 128 megawatts of capacity. Duke also signed power-purchase agreements for five new solar projects in the state, representing 150 megawatts of capacity.
In the span of five years, the solar industry in North Carolina has grown from nearly non-existent to fourth-largest in the nation, behind California, Arizona, and New Jersey. The pace is accelerating, with solar capacity set to more than double in the state, at least this year. The state’s powerful electric utilities are pushing changes that could blot out the industry in North Carolina.
This N&O editorial is consistent with NC WARN’s view: that Duke Energy is not doing enough to promote solar power.
There’s good news for alternative energy and northeastern North Carolina in the announcement that Duke Energy Renewables will build a massive solar energy project in Pasquotank County. But this sunny story also casts a shadow.
NC WARN has launched a highly successful program that expands solar power on homes and businesses, cuts greenhouse gases, adds local jobs and helps avoid more rate increases for all customers. The program expands to Chatham County this Sunday, June 1, after a successful pilot project in Durham, and will gradually expand around the state.
NC WARN has filed expert testimony in a state regulatory proceeding where Duke Energy is seeking to reduce the amount paid to large-scale providers of solar electricity. We are urging the NC Utilities Commission to open a separate docket in which all stakeholders can benefit from ongoing “value of solar” cases currently in play around the U.S.
At long last, the Koch brothers and their conservative allies in state government have found a new tax they can support. Naturally it’s a tax on something the country needs: solar energy panels.
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