Duke proposes 110MW PV for South Carolina

Duke Energy has proposed several solar PV programs to the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) that will add up to 110MW of generation capacity in the state through 2021.

Duke, which has less than 2MW of solar capacity connected in the state, needs regulatory approval before it can offer its 720,000 customers there the company’s first wide-ranging options to use solar energy.

Among the offerings:

-Utility-scale solar. Duke expects to issue a request for proposals this year for more than 50MW in South Carolina.

-Community solar. A “Shared Solar Program” will allow multiple customers who often are unable to participate in renewable energy programs to subscribe to a specific solar facility and share in the economic benefits of the power produced. Those customers include nonprofit organizations, churches, community centers, renters and schools.

-Customer rebates. To encourage rooftop solar, Duke will offer rebates to customers who install rooftop or small-scale solar on their property. A typical rooftop installation could earn rebates of about $5,000 under the program.

The rebates will help customers with the initial investment, which can be significant. Customers with rooftop solar installations will still enjoy retail net metering in the state for the next 10 years. This means the price to sell excess energy to the utility will be the same price at which the utility sells the power to its customers.

"These diverse options will allow customers the ability to participate in a sustainable solar energy marketplace," says Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy president – South Carolina.

Duke is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to add solar to its energy portfolio in the Carolinas. On Monday, it announced the acquisition of a majority stake in California-based REC Solar, a leading installer of commercial and industrial (C&I) rooftop PV systems. It plans to invest as much as $225m into REC Solar’s projects over the next few years.