Duke Energy tries to undermine residential Solar PV

Changing the rules in the middle of the game:

Duke Energy wants the North Carolina Utilities Commission to let the company pay for rooftop solar power what it pays for other types of generated power.

Owners of rooftop solar systems sign contracts with Duke Energy that allow them to sell surplus electricity for 11 cents per kilowatt hour, the same price households pay for electricity.

If individual residential Solar owners charged Duke the way Duke charges the rest of us (or tries to, anyway), they would force a much higher rate down Duke Energy's throat to cover the cost of their construction within a few short years. But that's not how it works. Even at 11 cents per kilowatt hour, the return on investment for a residential Solar PV array goes well past the ten year mark. But if Duke Energy gets its way on this pricing request, the ROI for many will be extended, adding years to the payoff, and causing many who are contemplating this to change their mind. Which is the (real) goal of Duke Energy.


They do have their bases covered

Not only are they in the Governor's mansion, they've secured themselves a majority position on the NCUC itself, which makes the term, "conflict of interest" seem like a gross understatement.

Where we've been

Solar power has been on our radar here at BlueNC for years, and much of the progress we'd hoped for has come to pass. The combined influence of several states' REPS programs (including NC's) increased the demand for Solar which, in turn, increased the production of Solar panels. And that has eventually brought about a precipitous drop in the cost of installing these systems, in both industrial-sized arrays and on residences.

But while Duke Energy has seemingly embraced larger projects, their resistance to micro-projects installed on businesses and homes has remained, and this rate request is merely one more effort on their part to limit or even stifle the growth of these projects.

The NCUC, if it still retains even a shred of independence and responsibility, needs to understand where this request is coming from. It's not coming from a strictly business-oriented point of view, it's coming from fear. An irrational fear that the utility will lose control over the process of energy generation, and become redundant some day. The only way that will happen is if Duke Energy itself refuses to embrace the future.

Rates on everything going up and up and up

Where did I hear that there has been a request by insurance companies in North Carolina to raise home owner's insurance as much as 25%? How many stories have I read about how people are experiencing significantly higher costs of health insurance especially since the implementation of ACA? I have seen my Duke Power rates go up in what seems like a yearly request by them to raise rates and now there's another one coming?

Middle-to-low income people just can't catch a break. At least upper middle class and upper class people do get raises to keep up with inflation and rising costs in their lives. Low income people get minimum wage or maybe, if they're lucky, slightly higher than that and it doesn't go up unless government forces it to go up.

Talk about inequality !