Last week, NCSEA and other relevant parties filed a Joint Motion to Amend Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program docket in front of the North Carolina Utilities Commission (Commission). This filing comes as a direct result of the Commission’s Order Modifying Duke Energy’s Solar Rebate Program, which was filed on September 20, 2018, and changed the Program in several ways. NCSEA provided our take on the major pieces of the Order on our blog, and we encourage readers unfamiliar with the Order to read those takeaways here.
After considering the scope and contents of the Order, NCSEA and other relevant parties including Duke Energy Progress (DEP), Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC), Public Staff, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) worked together to file a Joint Motion to Amend requesting that the Commission amend its September 20th order. The parties filed this Motion to ensure that North Carolina customers are given the best opportunity to receive a rebate, and we have outlined the main points of interest from the Motion below.
- The parties in this Motion argue that opening the application window on January 1, a federal holiday, will cause unnecessary confusion for potential customers, installers, and for Duke Energy. As such, the Motion requests that the Commission amend the Rebate Program so that the application window will open on the first business day of each calendar year, rather than January 1. This change is particularly important because of the incredible demand for solar rooftop rebates, and the anticipated run on rebate reservations when the program opens in each calendar year.
- Additionally, the Motion contains a request that residential customers who received a rebate reservation before installing their system be required to complete their installation no later than December 31 of the calendar year in which the rebate was obtained. This will create a cleaner and more predictable yearly ending for each year of the program, ultimately benefitting customers.
- This is a change from the current language, which states that customers have 365 days from the date they receive the rebate reservation to complete installation of their system.
- By way of example, a customer who applies for and receives a rebate reservation on September 30, 2019 would only have until December 31, 2019 to complete the installation of that system in order to receive their rebate. Similarly, if that same customer were to apply and receive their rebate reservation earlier in the year, they would still need to complete the installation by December 31, but would have more time due to beginning the process earlier in the calendar year.
- NCSEA empathizes with the customers who, as a result of this request, will have less time to install a reserved system. However, NCSEA believes this system protects the integrity of the program and meets the needs of all relevant stakeholders. Additionally, protections are still available; any customer that has already applied for a 2019 rebate reservation will remain eligible to re-apply in 2020 if they are unable to install their system before the end of calendar year 2018.
It is important to note that these amendments will not affect the other tenets of the program and customers will be afforded the same protections and guidelines laid out in the Order. For example, customers may still build a system within 90 days of the next year’s program start date and receive a rebate upon proper completion of the installation. The only potential negative to these amendments are that a developer may have slightly less time to install. We expect the rebate reservations to sell out quickly each year, however, and the time reduced for installation will be nominal at most.
NCSEA believes that the requests laid out in the Motion are reasonable and are the most just resolution to concerns expressed by customers. Please stay tuned as we await the Commission’s decision, and be the first to hear about developments by becoming a member of NCSEA today!