By David Boraks
Environmental groups are asking the North Carolina Court of Appeals to overturn Duke Energy’s new rates and rules for residential rooftop solar panels that took effect Oct. 1.
The appeal was filed by the Environmental Working Group, NC WARN, 350 Triangle, 350 Charlotte, the Sunrise Movement and other groups. They argue that state regulators erred in approving the new rules last March without an independent study of the costs and benefits of rooftop solar.
The changes reduce what rooftop solar owners get paid for excess electricity sent to the grid and add a new $10 monthly rooftop solar fee. Existing customers can remain under the old rules until 2027, including receiving bill credits equal to whatever they pay for electricity.
Environmental groups and some solar installers are concerned that the rules changes eliminate incentives that have spurred growth of rooftop solar installations in recent years and could hurt the industry.
“It’s clear from the studies produced in the case that net metering is a net benefit to all of the customers in the Duke Energy system,” said Jim Warren, of NC WARN.