Recently, Duke Energy executives said that the company will seek permission to lower payments that utility companies make to homes and businesses that install solar panels, through a program called net metering (Jan. 23 business article). By any estimation, allowing Duke to pay less than fair value for solar energy delivered to the grid would grind to a halt investment in non-utility scale solar.
I was therefore pleasantly surprised to spy in my Twitter feed recently a photo posted by Duke’s corporate account, showing an executive holding a sign reading, “We support solar,” and including the hashtag “#GoSolar.” Unfortunately, if Duke is granted permission to pay less than a fair price for solar energy, fewer people will have the option of going solar. This is particularly unfortunate given the benefits that solar and clean energy providers deliver to the state.
A recent analysis shows that the industry generates more than 18,000 jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. Additionally, during a recent cold snap, Duke urged customers to conserve energy – and solar developers to keep their projects online – as the company struggled to meet record demand. That day was frigid, but sunny, and solar energy kept the lights on.