Clean Power Duke Energy v. North Carolina

Published on February 12th, 2014 | by The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC)


Duke vs. North Carolina: More Than Just Basketball

February 12th, 2014 by  

Wednesday, Feb 12th in NCAA men’s basketball, the Duke Blue Devils take on the North Carolina Tar Heels on UNC’s own turf. While either basketball team is a great choice, there’s a totally separate battle happening between Duke Energy and the people of North Carolina when it comes to energy choice. Duke CEO Lynn Good is speaking out publicly against rooftop solar and net metering. Recently, she met with local reporters and attacked net metering to defend Duke’s monopoly.

For those who are new to net metering, it’s a policy in place in 43 states that gives rooftop solar customers full retail credit for the excess energy they deliver back to the grid. Utilities like Duke turn around and sell this exported energy at the full retail rate to the neighbors, even though they paid nothing to generate, transmit, or distribute that cleaner power. Duke wants to rollback net metering to stifle rooftop solar and protect its monopoly.

In other words: Duke vs. North Carolina is more than just basketball.

Duke Energy v. North Carolina

Duke’s following an anti-rooftop solar playbook developed by their trade association, Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Other utilities that adhere to this playbook have even resorted to dirty tactics to preserve their monopolies. For example, an entire web of dark money surfaced last year after Arizona Public Service lied repeatedly about funding phony grassroots organizations and ads attacking their own customers.

In the game of consumer choice and alternatives to the monopoly, the people of North Carolina are bringing their best defense against the incumbent.

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About the Author

advocates for maintaining successful distributed solar energy policies, such as retail net metering, throughout the United States. Retail net metering (NEM) provides fair credit to residents, businesses, churches, schools, and other public agencies when their solar systems export excess energy to the grid. The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) was formed on the belief that anyone should have the option to switch from utility power to distributed solar power, and realize the financial benefits therein. The rooftop solar market has been largely driven by Americans’ desire to assert control over their electric bills, a trend that should be encouraged.

  • sault

    Unless you sign up for Time-of-Use metering (ToU), Duke and the other big utilities in NC will also own ALL the Renewable Energy Credits the owner of the array is eligible for. I’ve heard that ToU is the best way to go for solar installations, especially if you go and get an electric car too and charge it up at night.
    What I’m really afraid of is that the influence of the big utilities in NC is so great that the regulators won’t even ask them to justify their main objection to paying the retail rate for excess generation by making them explain just how much it “costs” to handle the excess electricity. Of course, they can spin the numbers however they like and claim that solar arrays are blowing out transformers and whatnot, but I don’t expect the regulators to call them out on it, either. I just don’t get how a house or business with a solar array that cancels out some or all of its load on the grid, especially during peak hours, puts MORE stress on the system rather than LESS, but then again, my paycheck isn’t dependent on the monopoly utility paradigm either…

    • Bob_Wallace

      It’s conceivable that if many/all the houses fed by a single transformer installed solar there could be too much load on the transformer.

      If you’re living in a 4.5 avg solar hour area (middle of the 48) and you design your system so that it produces all the electricity you use over a year then when the Sun is shining brightly you’ve got a system that will produce about 6x your average draw.

      Lots of houses dumping 5x to 6x their average draw could mean a lot power coming from a direction not anticipated when the grid was built.

      That’s not to say that houses shouldn’t install solar. It says that utilities need to get busy and adapt. There’s a new world a-comin’.

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