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Solar Boom Creates Tension Between Utilities, Developers In North Carolina

Duke Energy Solar farm near Elizabeth City NC
Duke Energy

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Our state is second in the nation for installed solar capacity but Duke Energy is pushing for rule changes that advocates say could hurt that growth. We find out more.

North Carolina's solar industry has grown tremendously in recent years – now second in the nation, only behind California, for installed solar capacity. The industry has benefited not only from our abundant sunshine but from favorable policies and generous state tax credits. It has continued to thrive, even after the tax credit expired.

But Duke Energy, which is required by federal law to buy power generated by solar producers, contends that all this growth may come at a cost for consumers. They are seeking more control over the marketplace and asking the N.C. Utilities Commission to change some of the solar rules - like how much Duke pays independent producers.

Solar energy advocates say changes to the state's policies could negatively impact the industry here and push developers to other states. Neighboring South Carolina and Georgia could be competition - both have seen growth in solar development.

Mike Collins and his guests will discuss North Carolina's solar energy industry and the conflict between utilities and developers.


John Downey - Senior Staff Writer, Charlotte Business Journal

Randy Wheeless - Communications Manager, Duke Energy

Joel Olsen - CEO of O2 emc and president of O2 energies, a solar power company based in Cornelius

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.