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Will Duke Energy & the Koch Brothers Kill North Carolina’s Growing Solar Industry?

Our state needs policies that promote solar power and competition.

Every new solar panel helps all of us by creating jobs, cutting pollution, and eliminating Duke Energy’s case to continually raise rates to build expensive power plants we don’t even need.

According to a February 2015 poll by Conservatives for Clean Energy, over 86% of NC voters – across the political spectrum – support policies promoting solar power. But Duke Energy is using its corporate muscle to limit the growth of solar.

In March, the Washington Post detailed how the nation’s utilities and the Koch Brothers are uniting to fight solar:

Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels….Two-and-a-half years later, evidence of the “action plan” envisioned by [officials of the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association that represents the nation’s investor-owned utilities] can be seen in states across the country. Legislation to make net metering illegal or more costly has been introduced in nearly two dozen state houses since 2013. Some of the proposals were virtual copies of model legislation drafted two years ago by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a nonprofit organization with financial ties to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

North Carolina needs electricity competition, not Duke Energy’s gluttonous monopoly.

2015 Solar Legislation

NC House Bill 245, the Energy Freedom Act, would have opened up North Carolina electricity markets to third party (“no money down”) sales of electricity, making solar power accessible to nearly everyone. More info here. Unfortunately, the bill never got out of committee, thanks to lobbying by Duke Energy and other fossil fuel interests. The sponsor, Rep. John Szoka (R-Cumberland), has indicated an interest in pursuing the legislation again in the future.

North Carolina’s 35% renewable energy tax credit was scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2015. NC Senate Bill 447 (the Energy Investment Act) would have extended the credit for 5 years for smaller renewable energy systems and by 2 years for systems larger than 1 megawatt. Unfortunately, that bill did not pass, and efforts to extend the credit in the budget process also failed.

dukekillsolarthumbJust for Fun

Watch the two satirical TV ads we ran earlier this year:

Duke Energy Hates Solar

A Fishy Story

Media

Solar’s Future In NC Hangs In Balance Over Tax Credit — WUNC Radio, August 25, 2015

A Church Challenges Duke Energy Over Solar — WUNC Radio, August 21, 2015

Freedom Act would allow third-party sales of solar power in N.C. – News & Record, June 27, 2015

North Carolina’s solar industry is booming. So why are state Republicans threatening to strangle it?, IndyWeek, June 3, 2015

Solar Power and Competition are Good for All Customers, Winston-Salem Journal, May 2, 2015, Op-Ed by Rev. Nelson Johnson and NC WARN Executive Director Jim Warren (see, also, NC WARN’s fact sheet refuting Duke’s “solar hurts the poor” arguments)

Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem, Elected Officials Support Solar Competition, News Release, April 10, 2015

Pastor to Duke Energy CEO: Stop Targeting African-Americans with Your Anti-Solar Campaign, April 7, 2015

Desperate Fossil Fuel Interests Seek to Undermine Clean Energy Choices in Communities of Color, Huffington Post, April 24, 2015

Republicans Push to Expand Solar Power in NC, News & Observer, April 7, 2015

Poll Shows Huge Bipartisan Support for Solar Power and Competition in NC, News Release, March 25, 2015

How to Break Duke Energy’s Stranglehold on North Carolina’s Power Industry — and Maybe Save Our Coasts in the Process, IndyWeek, March 25, 2015

Bill Allowing Renewable Power Sales Direct to NC Consumers Could be a Boon for Solar, Charlotte Business Journal, March 17, 2015

Utilities Wage Campaign Against Rooftop Solar, Washington Post, March 7, 2015

NC Solar Industry In Jeopardy If Utilities Get Their Way, WFAE, July 24, 2014

Solar Energy in North Carolina: Gone in a Puff of Smoke? Creative Loafing Charlotte, July 8, 2014

The Koch Attack on Solar Energy New York Times editorial, April 26, 2014

More background

News release on Duke’s 2014 attempt to kill large-scale solar at the Utilities Commission

NC WARN’s white paper detailing our “Duke Hates Solar” charges

More reasons we say: Don’t Let Duke Squash Solar in NC

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