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Exploring how the way we live influences climate change and its impact across the Carolinas. You also can read additional national and international climate news.

Solar Rebates Oversubscribed Again, Even As Duke Energy Cuts Amount

Duke says it got many more applications for solar rebates than it can fulfill again this year.
David Boraks
Duke says it got many more applications for solar rebates than it can fulfill again this year.

Rebates for rooftop solar panels continue to gain popularity among Duke Energy's North Carolina customers, even as the size of the rebates declines.

The company reports it received 3,718 applications for just 800 available rebates during the mid-year application window this month. That compares with just over 3,000 applications for 1,600 rebates all of last year.

In a change from past years, the rebates are now handed out twice a year through lotteries in January and July.

Most of the rebates (3,566) will go to residential customers across Duke's two North Carolina operating divisions. Those who don't get picked will go on a waiting list in case any customers drop out.

The most recent winners are being notified this week, Duke spokesperson Randy Wheeless said.

Meanwhile, Wheeless said Duke has cut residential solar rebates to a maximum of $4,000 from $6,000. Business rebates are now $30,000, down from $40,000.

Asked why Duke has reduced the rebates, Wheeless said: "A combination of lower costs for solar installations and the demand for the rebates was tapping out our supply – and that demand looks to continue."

Rebates for nonprofit customers remain a maximum of $75,000, but few churches, governments or nonprofits have applied. In the latest round, Duke got just nine applications from nonprofits across its two North Carolina territories.

Duke has one year left in a five-year, $62 million rebate program required by a 2017 state law.

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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.