By Adam Wagner
Solar panel installation companies in North Carolina are alarmed at a Duke Energy proposal that they say could imperil thousands of jobs and make it difficult for the state to reach its clean energy targets.
Earlier this year, Duke Energy proposed a change to how it charges customers who have solar panels on their roofs. Right now, Duke credits and charges customers with solar panels the same amount for power no matter when it is sent to or drawn from the grid.
Duke’s “net metering” proposal would change that. Solar customers would both pay less and receive lower credits for energy at so-called “discount” times, while paying more and receiving higher credits for energy at times when high usage strains the grid.
The complexity of the price structure was one of the concerns 15 residential solar installation companies raised in a letter sent to Gov. Roy Cooper last week. Installation companies including Southern Energy Management, Sundance Power Systems and Yes Solar Solutions argue the proposal will slow the growth of rooftop solar and result in what they call discriminatory fees against solar customers.
“We believe the proposed changes could harm a growing industry on behalf of a single corporation, cause the loss of thousands of well-paying jobs in the North Carolina solar industry, threaten your climate goals and hurt all electricity customers by limiting the delivery of low-cost power to the grid,” the installation companies wrote in their letter.