Duke Energy looking for solar power proposals in South Carolina

rooftop Solar power project elp 5

Duke Energy issued a request for proposals for about 53 MW (AC) of utility-scale solar power capacity to be in-service in its South Carolina service areas by the end of 2016.

The announcement is another step forward in Duke Energy's Distributed Energy Resource Program, which was approved by the Public Service Commission on July 15. It marks an important milestone in realizing the vision of Act 236, or the Distributed Energy Resource Act of 2014.

The RFP gives bidders the flexibility to offer a power-purchase agreement to the company, and/or to provide a proposal through which Duke Energy would take ownership of the proposed project. Utility-scale projects should be greater than 1 and no more than 10 MW in capacity.

In a separate RFP, the company seeks up to 5 MW of solar capacity for its Shared Solar Program, an innovative offer that will allow multiple customers to subscribe to the output of a specific solar facility and share in the economic benefits of the power produced. Projects should be greater than 250 kilowatts and no more than 1 MW of capacity.

The company anticipates the Shared Solar Program will be particularly attractive to customers who want to receive the benefits of renewable energy but may not be able to install solar on their premises, such as renters or those who live in multi-family housing.

"The collaborative vision to bring solar to South Carolina is now becoming a reality to the benefit of our customers, communities and the state," said Clark Gillespy, Duke Energy president -- South Carolina. "We see South Carolina becoming a leader in the adoption of new solar."

The deadline for both RFPs is mid-October.

Another component of Duke Energy's solar push in South Carolina is a rebate program for new rooftop or ground-mounted solar installations up to 1 MW.

Duke Energy will offer rebates to customers who install rooftop or small-scale solar on their property. The rebates will help customers with the initial investment, which can be significant. Qualifying residential or non-residential customers may receive $1 per watt (DC) upon completion of the solar facility. As an example, a residential customer who installs a typical 5kW system could earn rebates of about $5,000 under the program. Likewise, a non-residential customer who installs 50kW could earn a rebate of $50,000.

Customers can sign up for rooftop rebates beginning Oct. 13, for arrays installed since Jan. 1, 2015.

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