Duke Energy piloting incentive program for home solar + storage in North Carolina

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Duke Energy is implementing PowerPair, a new incentive-based pilot program for installing home solar generation with battery energy storage in its Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress service areas in North Carolina. The company received approval from the North Carolinas Utility Commission (NCUC) for the program on January 11, 2024.

The one-time incentive-based program, designed to help make a home solar plus battery system more affordable for customers, offers up to $9,000 in incentives for residential customers who install a solar plus battery system. The total incentive is based on the type of solar array and battery installed.

PowerPair was designed in collaboration with numerous stakeholder groups pursuant to the direction of the NCUC.

“PowerPair gives Duke Energy an added tool to provide more reliability to solar energy which in turn benefits all customers as North Carolina grows in population,” said Lon Huber, Duke Energy senior vice president, Pricing and Customer Solutions. “And by participating, customers are helping to support the state’s clean energy goals.”

Participating PowerPair customers must employ a Duke Energy Trade Ally, a solar and battery installer that has been approved by Duke Energy. Installers may apply to become a Duke Energy Trade Ally here.

Some PowerPair customers and customers with existing battery storage may also participate in the company’s expanded demand response programs. The Power Manager and EnergyWise Home programs will now include the newly approved battery control option, available in July.

By enrolling … customers allow Duke Energy to temporarily adjust the system’s operating setting a minimum of 30 times per year up to a maximum of 36 times per year, to provide stored electricity back to the grid. Participants receive a bill credit each month for enrolling a qualifying battery storage system and meeting program requirements, including internet connectivity. Customers may opt out of four events per year and still be eligible to receive bill credits.

“As we continue to strengthen our grid and bring clean energy resources online, our customers are important partners in our clean energy future – and can receive upfront and potential ongoing financial incentives for coupling solar power and battery storage on their residential systems,” said Huber. “These programs enable Duke Energy to maximize the use of popular consumer technologies to support the overall energy grid.”

Participants in the pilot will have two enrollment options. They can enroll in the PowerPair pilot on a residential solar choice rider (RSC) or through a net metering bridge rider (NMB) and receive a one-time incentive of up to $9,000. NMB customers will be required to enroll in the new Power Manager and EnergyWise Home Battery Control option. They will receive the additional monthly bill credits for their participation.

To help ensure incentive equity, PowerPair pilot participants will initially be selected through a random selection process (RSP), which will open May 10. The RSP window for the PowerPair program will be four weeks in length, allowing customers time to apply on the Duke Energy website.

Ranked fourth in the nation for overall solar power, North Carolina has approximately 45,000 customers who generate power with solar panels with a total capacity of about 350 megawatts. The expanded demand response offerings will add to the existing 100 megawatts of residential flexible winter capacity in North Carolina.

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