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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.

Duke Energy offers new rooftop solar incentive program, as installations decline

New residential solar installations fell over 15 percent in 2023, ending a six-year growth streak, according to data from the NC Sustainable Energy Association.
Duke Energy
New residential solar installations fell over 15% in 2023, ending a six-year growth streak, according to data from the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association.

Duke Energy’s PowerPair program is offering a new incentive for homeowners to try solar, according to Wendy Fleener, Duke Energy’s director of clean energy.

“It is a one-time, upfront incentive designed to make the installation of solar plus battery more affordable for our customers,” Fleener said.

Through PowerPair, homeowners may receive a payment of up to $9,000 toward solar and battery installation. Federal tax incentives like the Residential Clean Energy Credit can further defray the cost.

PowerPair comes half a year after state regulators implemented Duke’s net-metering plan to reduce the amount of ongoing savings rooftop solar provides. New residential solar installations fell over 15% in 2023, ending a six-year growth streak, according to data from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association.

A graph showing new residential solar installations from 2004-23. The largest peak is in 2022, followed by a decline in 2023.
Zachary Turner
/
WFAE

Fleener says the new program is part of the utility’s strategy to balance the power book, as demand from the commercial side is predicted to increase dramatically.

“These programs also will enable us to maximize what the customers may have on their own property for our overall energy grid,” Fleener said.

The first round of PowerPair applications opens Friday and will remain open for four weeks before the random selection process begins. Duke Energy will accept applications intermittently until Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress reach their 30 megawatt capacity. A complementary “demand response” program will roll out in July that manages how stored electricity is sold back to the grid from at-home battery storage.

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Zachary Turner is a climate reporter and author of the WFAE Climate News newsletter. He freelanced for radio and digital print, reporting on environmental issues in North Carolina.