In the year since introducing $1 a watt rebates for solar power in South Carolina, nearly 2,000 of Duke Energy’s customers and businesses in the state have chosen to go solar, totaling nearly $12 million in rebates. Now, as the utility nears its cap for the program it’s introducing new solar incentive plans for the state, including shared or community solar.
More than 1,800 residential customers and 125 business have gone solar since Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program launched a year ago in response to South Carolina Act 236. It’s part of the utility’s bigger effort to install 53 megawatts of solar power in the state. Already it has contracted for more than 40 of those megawatts. In fact, interest in the program has significantly throttled up since September even, when just 750 homeowners had gotten rebates through the program.
"Our customers have responded very positively to our solar rebate program," said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy's South Carolina state president. "It's expanded the choices our customers have in meeting their energy needs by helping to lower the upfront costs associated with building solar installations."
Gillespy is talking about customers like Bob Horst, a former professor of economics and finance, who used the program to install solar power. "The rebate program brought my cost to install down significantly. Since then, our bill has been nearly zero. Now I'm planning to buy an electric car, and I love the fact that I will be able to power that at home with solar energy,” he said.
The rebate program is available to homeowners installing up to 20 kilowatt systems and business customers installing up to 1 megawatt on their property. In addition, nonprofits and governmental entities can receive a rebate $1.50 per watt for up to 20 kilowatts.
Since the rebate program is close to its cap the utility already established a waiting list. Once the cap is met those on the waiting list will be able to install solar with the rebate on a first come, first serve basis. The utility noted that customers can still use federal and state incentives to help reduce the cost of solar and can net-meter their systems. The utility also is launching a community solar program, Shared Solar, in 2017. That program will allow its customers to go solar without actually putting solar panels on their homes.Tweet