Net metering news this week: Duke agrees in N.C., Florida bill would do damage


Duke Energy agrees to NEM plan in North Carolina

Solar business and clean energy advocates signed an agreement with Duke Energy this week to support the implementation of a new net energy metering program for the next decade in North Carolina that follows the lead of South Carolina’s NEM successor plan.

If approved by the NC Utilities Commission, this agreement will offer Duke Energy’s future net metering customers significant up-front savings when adopting solar including a direct rebate, new solar pricing signals to reduce utility costs for all customers and preserve electricity bill savings for current net metering customers.

From Duke’s perspective, it also features rate design mechanisms to properly collect costs of the grid infrastructure needed to serve solar customers and cutting-edge retail rates that vary based on the time of day and when the utility is experiencing peak demand.

The solar signees included the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Sunrun, and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) on behalf of Vote Solar and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

“This program pushes forward progress in North Carolina’s clean energy economy,” says Peter Ledford, General Counsel and Director of Policy at North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. “Not only does it advance the residential solar sector, it also provides a framework and agreement to work collaboratively on the next generation of non-residential net metering. This agreement establishes new price signals and opportunities for homeowners to incorporate innovative technologies with solar— smart thermostats, battery storage, and more.”

Florida legislators look to gut NEM

Legislation filed last week in the Florida Legislature aims to end net metering for rooftop solar customers, effectively shutting down this key sector of the state economy. The proposed changes to net metering stand to halt over $18 billion in economic impact generated by the rooftop solar industry.

“This is a tired tactic that utilities have used to maintain their monopoly grip on electricity markets,” says Will Giese, southeast regional director for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Stripping Floridians of their right to choose solar is simply bad policy. The bill does not consider the many benefits that solar provides to all ratepayers and it will weaken one of the fastest-growing sectors in Florida’s economy.”

Indeed, Florida has the second-largest solar workforce in the country and ranks third among states for installed solar capacity. Rooftop solar creates more jobs per megawatt than any other form of energy, supports over 8,900 direct jobs and another 31,000 indirect and induced jobs which contributes over $3.2 billion in household income to workers across the Sunshine state, according to Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA).

Florida’s elected officials are uninterested in all of that, apparently.

“While we are still analyzing the full impact of the legislation filed yesterday, initial modeling suggests this plan has the potential to set the rooftop solar industry back nearly a decade, erasing thousands of jobs, ending consumer choice and eliminating savings, along with the resiliency benefits that rooftop solar offers to Floridians,” says Justin Vandenbroeck, president of the FlaSEIA.

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