What is Net Energy Metering?
Net energy metering (NEM) is a billing system that credits residential and commercial customers for any excess electricity that they generate and sell back to the utility from the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV rooftop system, it may generate more electricity than is needed during the day. If the home is net metered the electricity meter will provide credit against the electricity consumed in the evening. Customers are only billed for the net energy that they use. North Carolina solar customers in Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas territories are currently offered net-metering rates with full retail rate credit for any excess electricity exported to the grid at the end of the month. However, solar compensation structures vary widely across municipal and cooperative utility territories in NC. To find out what your utility currently offers, visit the Rates of Solar web tool developed by the Southern Environmental Law Center.
In both HB589 and HB951, language was included that requires the NC Utilities Commission to revisit net metering rate structures in regulated utility territory by 2027. A similar provision was included in the South Carolina Energy Freedom Act, leading to “Solar Choice Net Metering,” as outlined below. This new compensation structure was the inspiration for the recently proposed ‘NC Residential Solar Choice agreement filed between Duke Energy and clean energy advocates, including NC Sustainable Energy Association, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Sunrun, and the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Learn more about the North Carolina Solar Choice Net Metering Agreement in our recent fact sheet.
North Carolina’s “Residential Solar Choice” Proposal
In November 2021, solar advocates and Duke Energy reached an agreement largely based off the “Solar Choice Net Metering” program in South Carolina. The proposed agreement is designed to ensure customers receive adequate compensation for the benefits solar provides to the community and the grid. Specifically, NC’s Residential Solar Choice program includes an upfront rebate program for eligible customers, monthly netting of electricity imports and exports, time-of-use rates to incentivize beneficial electricity management, and provides opportunities for additional clean energy measures, such as energy storage or electric vehicles.
South Carolina’s “Solar Choice Net Metering”
In Summer 2020, solar advocates and Duke Energy reached an agreement that could offer Duke Energy’s future rooftop solar customers significant up-front savings to go solar, while enhancing grid reliability and setting new solar pricing signals to reduce utility costs for all customers. This agreement was approved by the South Carolina Public Service Commission and is now in effect as the Solar Choice rider for residential (DEC version and DEP version) and nonresidential (DEC version and DEP version) customers. Read NCSEA’s blog post about South Carolina’s “Solar Choice Net Metering” to learn more.