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Carolina utility awaits OK for distributed solar

Duke Energy Carolinas is awaiting approval from the North Carolina Utilities Commission for its plan to rent rooftop space from homes, schools and other buildings throughout the state for a distributed solar power generation system.

First proposed last June, the original $100 million plan for up to 850 rooftop installations has since been scaled back by 50 percent, according to Greenbiz. Even at the lower capacity, though, the distributed system could generate up to 10 megawatts of electricity, which would go into the utility’s grid rather than directly to the building owners participating in the programme. (Owners would receive rental payments based on the size of their rooftop installation.)

While a state decision is expected before the end of next month, Duke Energy Carolinas is moving ahead by seeking applications from potential rooftop installation hosts. The programme would be limited to existing utility customers whose roofs are five years old or less.

“We believe an initiative of this scope and scale will help us meet the requirement of North Carolina’s new Renewable and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS),” said Keith Trent upon announcement of the original plan earlier this year. Trent, who is group executive and chief strategy, policy and regulatory officer, added, “This programme also will enable us to evaluate the role of distributed generation on our system, and gain experience in owning and operating renewable energy resources.”

The state’s portfolio standard requires Duke Energy Carolinas to generate 12.5 percent of its energy via renewables by 2021.

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