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Duke Energy attracts strong interest for solar rebate program in North Carolina

Duke Energy Corp. is seeking approval from North Carolina regulators to allow customers who installed solar systems between Jan. 1 and July 26 to apply for the solar rebate program again in 2019.

The rebate offering, which opened July 9 to all Duke Energy Progress LLC and Duke Energy Carolinas LLC customers in the state, is part of a five-year, $62 million program designed to support customers who want to install solar systems at their homes or businesses. So far, the company has received more than 1,500 applications for the incentive.

The program will see the addition of up to 20 MW of new solar capacity each year. Due to the first-come, first-served rule, about 16 MW of new capacity has been accepted for rebates, totaling about $9 million, the company said in a July 27 news release.

Duke Energy had about 5,000 customers with private solar in North Carolina at the start of 2018, with a total capacity of about 50 MW.

Residential customers who install a solar system with 10 kW or less capacity are eligible for a rebate of 60 cents per watt. Nonresidential customers are eligible for a rebate of 50 cents per watt and nonprofits are eligible for a rebate of 75 cents per watt for an installed capacity of up to 100 kW.

Additionally, Duke Energy is soliciting bids for utility-scale renewable projects totaling 680 MW. The company will accept bids to supply between 1 MW and 80 MW of projects that must enter operation prior to Jan. 1, 2021. Bids are due by Sept. 11. The bidding process will be managed by an independent administrator.