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Here are some of the other stories catching our attention.

Duke Says 2018 Solar Rebates Total $10 Million, More Available Jan. 2

A rooftop solar project at Birdsong Brewing in Charlotte was among those that got Duke Energy rebates in 2018.
Duke Energy
A rooftop solar project at Birdsong Brewing in Charlotte was among those that got Duke Energy rebates in 2018.

Duke Energy says it expects rebates for rooftop solar panels in North Carolina to total about $10 million this year. Applications for the second year of the five-year program will be available beginning Jan. 2. 

Duke will hand out a total of $62 million in solar rebates over the five years under the program required by a 2017 state law. Homeowners can get up to $6,000 in rebates, businesses up to $50,000 and nonprofits up to $75,000.

Demand has been high. When Duke first offered the rebates in July, the program ran out of money for home and business rebates in a couple of weeks. Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless said if you missed out this year, you can re-apply in the new year.

"We definitely want anyone who connected a solar system in 2018, who wanted the rebate, they will get a rebate," Wheeless said.

The $10 million in rebates for 2018 includes about $6 million handed out so far to 1,300 property owners, plus money still to be paid for systems installed this year. Some of that money is being re-allocated from property owners who reserved rebates but did not install systems. 

About 96 percent of the rebates have gone to residential homeowners, Wheeless said. 

For homeowners, the rebates cover about one-third of the cost of a typical solar installation, Wheeless said. Federal tax breaks will cover another 30 percent or so, he said.
Birdsong Brewing on North Davidson Street was among the first businesses to get rebates. In a Duke Energy press release, president Chris Goulet said the rebate "helped make the project's economics even more attractive." 
There's still money available in 2018 for nonprofit installations, where Wheeless said rebates are being taken up more slowly.


More information is available on the solar rebate page at Duke-Energy. com

David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.