Commentary: N.C. solar demand shows need to revisit programs

The director of the NC Sustainable Energy Association says North Carolina needs to revisit state policies and programs to make sure all customers have access to solar power. If there were any question about how much demand there is for solar energy in North Carolina, the fact that Duke Energy’s solar rebate program was launched for a mere 17 days before effectively “selling out” for the year should settle that debate. After launching the program on July 9, the utility announced on July 26 that its annual participation caps for both residential and commercial customers in the Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress territories were fully subscribed, except for some additional capacity set aside for nonprofits. It’s exciting to see the tremendous interest North Carolina homeowners and businesses showed by applying for the program with such immediacy. The first quarter of 2018 had more than 600 filings for rooftop solar construction — 98 percent of which were residential solar systems — which was the second most in any quarter over the past six years.