Duke offers community solar option for South Carolina residents

The initiative, dubbed Shared Solar, is part of state-wide efforts to develop solar generation and increase customer choice, in addition to communities mounting solar panels to generate their own energy.

"This program is a great opportunity for any customers who are unable to put a solar facility on their property to access renewable energy," Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, state president for Duke Energy in South Carolina, said in a press statement.

Last fall, Duke Energy agreed to extend its net metering program after the DEC region reached the 2% total generation capacity cap for the program. The extension runs out mid-March, halfway through the state's legislative session. Net metering credits led to a solar industry boom in the state and developers want to remove the limits on distributed solar, but state lawmakers failed to address the net metering cap in the last legislative session.

To increase access to the new community solar offerings, Duke waives the application cost and initial fees for qualified low-income customers. The program is open to residential and non-residential customers.

The process for Shared Solar started about eight months ago with a request for proposals for small solar projects, which resulted in the Duke Energy Progress and the recent DEC announcement, according to Duke spokesperson Randy Wheeless.

"We're just right now trying to judge the interest in the programs and we'll continue to expand if we see that kind of interest," he told Utility Dive.