One Year In, SC Customers Applaud Duke Solar Rebate

Residents Urge Neighbors to Go Solar and Save Big, While the Program Lasts

October 11, 2016 – South Carolina homeowners and small businesses have benefitted from big savings on solar energy this year, thanks to a hefty rebate from Duke Power that’s still available.

The rebate was introduced one year ago with the intent to spur solar growth in South Carolina. It was put in place in order to get more renewable energy onto the grid, while driving economic activity and saving customers money on their bills in the long run.

The program has enjoyed steady participation over that time, and while the program is 60% used, there remain sufficient funds to support thousands more kilowatts of solar installations, and some customers may still be able to save on solar systems put in this year.

One Duke customer is calling on homeowners who might be eligible for the program to act now.

Seth Williams, a Duke South Carolina customer, recently got solar installed at his home with help from Duke’s rebate. “I was very happy, and I was able to clearly see the financial sense of solar power because of this rebate. Duke’s incentive is one of the most competitive in the country, and saving money was my reason for going solar, bottom line.” He encourages people to look at how the rebate – which can potentially be combined with federal and state tax incentives – puts the purchase of a solar energy system within reach for many more SC customers than ever before.

Solar installers local to the area say the program has contributed to the health of the industry in the region over the past 12 months. Jay Radcliffe is President of Renu Energy Solutions, a local business that offers solar energy installation services in upstate South Carolina and the surrounding area. He says: “Duke’s rebate itself can cover 25-33% of the price of a solar installation, and so especially when taken along with the 30% federal tax credit state and 25% South Carolina tax credit, it is redefining solar power right now as a highly affordable option.”

Duke’s rebate of $1 per watt will be in effect under program funds run out. Speak with a representative of Renu Energy Solutions and arrange a no-cost solar energy consultation by calling 704-525-6767, or online at renuenergysolutions.com. Contact Duke Power or review its website for further program specifics. Individuals should see a tax professional about the active tax credits referenced here.

Solar Panels Going Up in Salisbury-Rowan

This article by Juanita Teschner appeared in the Catawba College Center for the Environment website

Solar Panels Going Up in Salisbury-Rowan

Solar panels are sprouting up in Salisbury and Rowan County, thanks to a community initiative that started in October.

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Image credit Catawba College Center for the Environment

Solarize Salisbury-Rowan informs residents of the advantages of solar power and helps them reduce costs through competitive bids by installers who have already been professionally vetted. It is a cooperative venture of SmartPower, a national non-profit organization that focuses on clean energy, and the Center for the Environment at Catawba College.

Lane Wallace, Solarize Salisbury-Rowan coordinator, notes that 2015 is potentially the last year to take advantage of the North Carolina state tax credits , which are due to expire December 31, 2015. The Solarize project assistance, initially offered the last three months of 2014, will be extended until January 14.

“It has been heartening to see how many people are interested in solar energy,” Wallace says. “Solar is actually very competitive as an investment and as an energy source. Studies show that investing in solar right now can show returns 20 to 30 percent higher than investing in taxable mutual funds for homeowners. And it is a relatively risk-free investment.”

Wallace refers to a statement by Jim Warren, executive director of NC WARN: “Solar photovoltaic power is now cheaper than kilowatt hours from newly constructed dirty power plants when all costs are considered.”

Paul Bardinas, CEO and president of Freirich Foods Inc. in Salisbury, had already installed solar panels on his business so he knew about the advantages of solar power. “It’s working as promised,” he says, “and on track to pay for itself within 10 years.”

tl_files/cfte/images/news_images_2015/2015.1.5-solar_bardinas.JPGReNu Energy Solutions installed solar panels on his family’s home December 19 through the Solarize program. The installation will provide 75 percent of their electricity, including providing power for his and his wife Carrie’s Nissan Leafs, which are all-electric vehicles.

Bardinas calculates that his home installation will be totally paid for in 8-9 years, assuming no rate increases from Duke Power. “Then it will produce power potentially for another 20 years after that,” he says. “That’s essentially free money.”

Bardinas notes that this installation has been easier than the one on his business because of Solarize Salisbury-Rowan. “It has brought regional installers that I didn’t know about to this market,” he says. “Bringing those two groups together – folks who are interested in solar and qualified technicians and installers that can do the work – has helped a lot. Beforehand, I had to go to South Carolina to find somebody to do our commercial project. It took a lot of time and effort to vet those people.”

John Wear, executive director of the Center for the Environment, is pleased with the interest Salisbury-Rowan residents and business owners have shown in solar power. “It’s not only cost-effective,” he says. “It’s also good for the environment. Solar energy users automatically lower their ecological footprint by using this renewable source.”