A Path to Clean Energy


Mtn Xpress - clean enegy

Thanks  to Mtn Xpress for the attention to  the critical  energy issues our region is  tackling in their November 11 edition,   Finding a Path to Clean Energy. Indeed this is a pivotal time for the direction of our energy future, and while there have been some set- backs, namely the failure of  NC’s  General Assembly to include an extension of the renewable energy tax credit in the budget, there are also exciting opportunities to create new models that will serve our communities better.

In the article  NC Reaches Solar Energy Milestone, it celebrates that solar installations in the state surpassed a combined 1 gigawatt in capacity. Sundance’s own Dave Hollister is quoted saying “It’s a great milestone. Solar has been a great boon to the state of North Carolina. It has seen rapid growth. We’ve built a very substantial industry in the state; we’ve created thousands of jobs.”

To keep the solar industry on a  strong trajectory and a part of an equitable energy strategy, the voice of informed citizenry is important, and this issue serves as a timely resource. Check it out and  become engaged. As we saw recently when Duke announced they were reconsidering their WNC Modernization Plan in response to public input, it does make a difference!


A Radiant Foundation

A Radiant Foundation

“Our foundation is radiant!” At first, that might seem like a very boastful claim, depending on interpretation, but it is indeed indubitable. When Sundance was founded in 1995 (Yes, we are proudly celebrating our 20th anniversary!) hydronic radiant floor heating was the primary service upon which the company was built. While our tagline today has evolved into “Empowering People with Solar,” the design and installation of efficient radiant heating systems remains an important part of Sundance’s mission in assisting in the shift to a low-impact, self-reliant lifestyle in harmony with the Earth.

Radiant floor heating (RFH) technology, also known as hydronic in-floor heating, is an exceptionally energy-efficient and comfortable way to heat, and a variety of more sustainable fuel sources can be integrated into the system. The basic operational principle is that hot water is pumped through PEX tubing that is either embedded in the concrete floor or attached to the underside of the flooring. The heat is then transferred to objects in the room through radiant heat transfer. In addition, by heating the floor, a thermal inversion is created that traps cool air at the ceiling, and convection causes circulation of the heat in the space where it is needed.

When we expanded our facilities last year with the construction of a new Shop & Warehouse, including radiant heat was a given as we had an outdoor wood boiler already in place. The design includes both in-slab and staple- up methods of installation. In the building’s slab-on grade concrete floor, PEX tubing was tied to the reinforcing wire mesh prior to the pour. The upstairs meeting room, which is on a separate thermostatically- controlled zone, has been finished off with bamboo flooring. Underneath it the PEX tubing is attach directly to the subfloor with aluminum heat-transfer plates that allow for even heat distribution. While there are many options for heating the water in a hydronic radiant system, Sundance opted for a Central Boiler Classic 5036 outdoor furnace as a more sustainable fuel source. This also allows us to use our steady stream of wood pallets that much of our products are shipped on as a fuel , rather than a waste that would be labor intensive and costly to deal with. It’s large firebox is surrounded by a 196 gallon water jacket, and when thermostatic sensors call for heat in the building the water is pumped through buried, insulated PEX tubing. Inside the building, a customized control panel and manifolds deliver the heat when it is called for.

In addition to being efficient, with up to 30% reduction in operating costs compared to a standard forced air heating system, radiant floor systems offer healthier environments as they are ductless systems and don’t circulate dust, mold, pollen or other allergens. Other benefits are that they are aesthetically pleasing as they are virtually invisible, other than perhaps a thermostat, and they are quiet when operational.

As can be seen in some of our Residential Radiant Systems, solar hot water technology offers a clean energy source, and is often coupled with a high-efficiency condensing boiler for back-up. In next month’s newsletter, we’ll be featuring a home that has a ground-source heat pump, and other high-efficiency options such as air to water heat pumps are developing. The beauty of these last two electrical systems is that a photovoltaic system can be sized to produce the energy they consume through solar, resulting in a net-zero, sustainable approach to energy. Radiant floor can be incorporated into Commercial buildings as well, such as Precision Restoration Services and Organic Mechanic, and we are really excited that New Belgium Brewery’s new tasting room includes 4,000 feet of in-floor heat.

With cold weather upon us, cheers to warm feet, and leaving a small footprint on the Earth! Read more →


Duke rolls out solar rebate in SC

Yesterday Duke Energy announced a significant solar rebate  program in their SC territory. This utility incentive, along with State and Federal tax credits ( 25% and 30% respectively,) makes solar a strong investment for home owners and businesses alike. Solar panels could soon be as synonymous with SC as the Palmetto Tree is, bringing economic growth along with clean energy benefits to the state.

For initial information on this rebate, we are sharing an article posted  in the Charlotte Business Journal on October 13:

Duke Energy solar rebates could save S.C. customers up to 33% on installation

Duke Energy’s residential and commercial customers in South Carolina who want to install solar projects on their property qualify for a $1 per watt rebate on new solar systems starting today.

With solar installations costs generally in the $3 to $4 per watt range, the rebate can reduce the cost to customers 25% to 33%.

The rebate applies to Duke (NYSE:DUK) residential customers who install up to 20 kilowatts of solar capacity at their home. An average home system is about 5 kilowatts, which would mean a $5,000 rebate under the plan.

Business customers can qualify for a rebate on systems of up to 1 megawatt in size. That would put the maximum rebate for business customers at $1 million.

The rebates are available until a total of 6 megawatts of new solar have been added to the Duke Energy Progress grid and 27 megawatts have been added to the Duke Energy Carolinas grid in the state. Projects installed as far back as Jan. 1 of this year also qualify for the program.

The rebates are part of Duke’s Distributed Energy Resource program, established to meet the requirements of legislation passed by the S.C. General Assembly in 2014 to encourage the adoption of solar and other distributed-energy sources in the state.

The rebate program is part of Duke’s overall solar plan for South Carolina. It looks to increase the amount of solar power on the grids for Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas from about 2 megawatts today to as much as 170 megawatts by 2021.

Net metering

Duke does not have any similar rebate program for residential and business customers in North Carolina.

“For many of our residential and small business customers, installing solar on their property is a significant investment,” says Clark Gillespy, Duke’s South Carolina president. “We believe a rebate coupled with our net metering incentive provides customers a meaningful financial incentive to seriously consider going solar.

The net metering incentive, adopted this summer as part of the same distributed-energy effort, will allow customers to earn a credit of one kilowatt-hour for every kilowatt-hour they produce and send to the Duke grid.

The one-for-one offer is an incentive because Duke does not ordinarily have to pay independent power producers anything more than what is called its “avoided costs.” That is a calculation, approved by regulators, of how much it would cost Duke to produce an additional kilowatt hour of power.

Additional construction

Avoided costs are currently about half what customers residential customers pay for electricity. But Duke has agreed to maintain the one-for-one kilowatt hour incentive through 2025.

Duke currently offers one-for-one net metering in North Carolina.

Gov. Nikki Haley signed South Carolina’s Distributed Energy Resource Program Act last year. It called for each utility in the state to submit a plan for expanding solar and other distributed-energy resources. Duke’s plan was approved by the S.C. Public Service Commission in July.

In August, Charlotte-based Duke moved forward with another part of the distributed-energy plan for South Carolina. It called for solar developers to submit plans for 58 megawatts worth of new solar capacity in the state. Proposals were originally supposed to be submitted by today. But the company recently gave developers another two weeks to respond to allow for problems created by the recent flooding in South Carolina.

John Downey covers the energy industry and public companies for the Charlotte Business Journal.


Sixteen NC Solar Companies Join Forces for Future of Industry

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                                                                                         September 8, 2015


Sixteen NC Solar Companies Join Forces for Future of Industry

Fifteen years of taxpayers’ investment at risk if tax credits are allowed to expire

Asheville, NC – Led by Asheville-based renewable energy company Sundance Power Systems, a coalition of sixteen solar energy companies from across the state has joined forces calling out for support of their industry as the current legislature decides on the final budget. Their decision on whether or not to extend the State’s 35% Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC) which has been tremendously instrumental to NC’s burgeoning solar economy threatens to destroy the investment NC has made in developing the solar industry in the State.

An ad placed by the group in Raleigh’s News & Observer today includes a cartoon warning “Dark Storm Threatens NC Solar Industry.” This rally for grassroots support and to pressure the legislature to renew the REITC stands on the significant economic growth that fifteen years of the incentive have brought to NC. Adopted in 1999, the tax credit was designed to enable renewable energy companies to increase market scale and reduce per unit costs until each resource can be part of a ‘least cost’ electricity resource mix without incentive, according to the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA.) It has gone through three rounds of extension since its inception, and is currently set to expire at the end of this year (December 31, 2015.)

“The credit has been incredibly successful, and is working,” stated Sundance Power System’s Co-Founder Dave Hollister. “The industry is almost to a point of sustainability but some support is still needed, contrary to the claim by opponents of its renewal that solar is ready to stand on its own and that the tax credits are no longer needed. That may be becoming true for the large utility-scale solar developers, but it is not true for the rooftop solar industry that this coalition represents.”

Renewable energy projects in NC have generated $1.54 in state and local government tax revenue for every $1.00 taken in tax credit, according to figures from NCSEA. This investment of tax payer’s money has been a positive economic force, and NC boosts the nation’s second strongest solar industry in 2014, supporting over 4,300 jobs. “Ending the tax credit prematurely would jeopardize the intent of the 15 year investment the taxpayers of NC have made to build a strong solar industry in the State. At some point solar tax credits should be phased out, that’s not the issue,” declared Hollister, “cutting them out now when we are so close to being sustainable will destroy the rooftop solar industry in North Carolina, cost thousands of jobs and set back our goals for a clean energy future immediately. This decision would be an absolute waste of our State’s resources.”

About Sundance Power Systems: Sundance Power Systems has been an active leader in the renewable energy industry since being founded in 1995. Dave Hollister, President and CEO, has been advocating for strong clean energy policies at legislative and utility levels for years, having served on the board of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and participating in Progress Energy’s Community Energy Action Advisory Council, among others.

For information, please visit



Faith Communities join Solar Companies in Call-out to Duke

Faith Community with Solar

Date         August 25, 2015

Release    Immediate                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Faith Communities join Solar Companies in call-out to Duke

Significant development in effort to get Duke Energy to publicly support solar legislation

Asheville, NC – As Legislators continue to delay in deciding upon a budget and if it will include an extension of the renewable energy tax credit, the solar industry’s effort to sway Duke Energy into issuing a public support statement in support of an extension is being fortified by an alliance with leaders in the faith community.

Today a press conference is being held at the United Church of Chapel Hill, a congregation that is in the process of installing a solar energy system.  According to Kathy Miller, Co- Founder and CEO of Yes! Solar Solutions, faith-based communities are supporting extending the tax credit for two years so that other non-profit groups have time to assure the tax credits to their donors, stating “While installing an 83 kilowatt solar system on its roof, United Church of Chapel Hill realized the dilemma non-profits and churches and individuals face with the loss of the tax credit. It took UCCH the better part of two years to formulate, plan, raise the funds and contract for the solar system. In 2015, it took months for permitting and interconnection approval. Kehillah Synagogue had a similar story, as did Community Church of Chapel Hill and many others.”

On August 18, Sundance Power Systems, along with three other NC rooftop solar providers (Baker Renewables, Southern Energy Management, Yes! Solar Solutions) sent a letter to Duke Energy’s CEO Lynn Good urging that the Utility publicly endorse the proposed two year extension of the renewable energy tax credit. This coalition’s request of Duke Energy is based on the premise that delays in their interconnection process “threatens millions of dollars of lost revenue” for smaller-scale rooftop solar companies like theirs. Furthermore, Duke Energy itself has been the largest benefactor of the tax credit in North Carolina.

Faith Communities have been adopting solar energy across the state as they embrace sustainability initiatives within their congregations. Asheville’s First Congregational United Church of Christ led the movement in 2011, when Sundance Power Systems installed their 9.5 kW system. NC Interfaith Power and Light has been a tremendous resource for faith-based non-profits, helping identify different business models to help congregation members invest in solar and realize the benefits of tax incentives. Director Susannah Tuttle will be addressing the importance of these structures to the group today.

With the faith community engaged in this critical issue, the solar companies are working to get other organizations, businesses, and individuals to join the call to action. They are requesting that letters be sent Duke’s Strategic Outreach and Communications Manager, asking that Duke Energy reconsider supporting the two year extension of the tax credit.

About Sundance Power Systems:Sundance Power Systems has been an active leader in the renewable energy industry since its founding in 1995. Dave Hollister, President and CEO, has been advocating for strong clean energy policies at legislative and utility levels for years, having served on the board of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and participating in  Progress Energy’s Community Energy Action Advisory Council, among others.



Companies urge Duke Energy for public support of Solar

 rooftop solar installation

Date         August 20, 2015                                                            Contact   Erika Schneider 

    Release    Immediate                                                                      Phone     828 645-2080 x 122


Companies urge Duke Energy for public support of Solar

Critical time for industry as NC Legislators decide on extension of tax credit in budget


Asheville, NC – Local solar energy company, Sundance Power Systems, along with three other NC rooftop solar providers, sent a letter to Duke Energy’s CEO Lynn Good earlier this week asking that they join in calling on the Legislature to include a two year extension of the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit in the budget.

“Our industry has worked hard to make solar affordable for more North Carolina residents and business owners, and we’ve been very successful. The tax credit has provided the financial footing needed for our young but capable industry to serve residential and commercial customers statewide. We have seen first-hand how the certainty provided by this policy translates to a strong business pipeline that keeps jobs and income in our communities, and builds a grid that is more distributed, resilient and clean. Small-scale solar is a key contributor to our state’s $4.8 billion solar industry,” they state.

With the slated sun-setting of the 35% state incentive, the small-scale solar industry has been adversely impacted by delays in the interconnection process as the Utility has been swamped with an overwhelming number of large projects. This threatens millions of dollars of lost revenue for the industry. “The extension of the tax credit would help level out demand for the rest of the year and allow the industry to phase out the tax credit over the next two years, during which time we can work collaboratively with Duke Energy to figure out how to make sure our grid continues to be affordable, reliable and increasingly clean,” the group says.

Within hours of the letter being sent, the Charlotte Business Journal ran an article with Duke’s response of “No.” Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless was quoted as saying “Our stance hasn’t changed. We know tax credits are a hot issue in Raleigh. We believe that the General Assembly is in the best position to settle this issue itself.”

“Duke’s political stance of ‘neutrality’ on this issue is a farce and represents an opposition to residential and commercial rooftop solar in North Carolina,” says Sundance’s Dave Hollister.  “A failure to extend or phase out the credit will jeopardize the majority of small to midsized solar companies and take away this clean energy choice from businesses and residential customers. It will crush an industry that has provided thousands of jobs and significant economic growth in our state.”

The rooftop solar industry has joined together in a grassroots campaign to engage customers and the general public that support a thriving clean energy economy in our state. This is an opportunity for Duke to join forces and work together with the solar industry to  foster continued growth of jobs, a cleaner energy mix, and a more sustainable future.


About Sundance Power Systems:

Sundance Power Systems has been an active leader in the renewable energy industry since its founding in 1995. Dave Hollister, President and CEO, has been advocating for strong clean energy policies at legislative and utility levels for years, having served on the board of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and participating in  Progress Energy’s Community Energy Action Advisory Council, among others.

For information, please visit




Letter to Duke Energy

This is a critical time for the solar industry in NC, and so many have been working to ensure a clean energy future in our state. However, we are getting down to the wire, and so are engaging all efforts on this front.

Today Dave Hollister, Sundance’s President and CEO, along with several other companies speaking for the rooftop solar industry, sent this letter to Ms. Lynn Good, President and CEO of Duke Energy, asking that the Utility join us in calling on the Legislature to include a 2 year extension of the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit in the budget.

Lynn Good letter FINAL (2)


Measuring up to SunPower’s Tips for Selecting a Solar Installer

With 20 years of “Empowering People with Solar” under our belt, we think you’ll find we more than measure up to these 6 Tips to land the perfect solar installer compiled by SunPower.  We deal with only highly vetted manufacturers and components (like SunPower,) we’re licensed and insured,  we’re experienced in both residential and commercial solar, and we work customers through all aspects of an investment in solar…. Current incentives, financing, and monitoring your production.

We’d like to add another important tip to this list: #7  Find out if they have a Service Department for ensuring your system’s optimal performance years into the future. (Yeah, we have a great one!)

Give us a call at 828 645-2080 if you’ve been thinking of solar energy  for your home or business… time is narrowing to take advantage of NC’s tax credit of 35% while it is still in place (it could be late September or even October before we know if legislators will support a renewal into 2016.)


Here’s SunPower’s wise advice for selecting a solar installer:

Solar is a booming industry. New companies and contractors are popping up every day to get in on the action. If you use Yelp to search for “solar installation” in the San Francisco Bay area, you’ll get nearly 500 results. With hundreds of hit or miss options, what’s next?

Let’s narrow down the field of potential solar contractors so you can start generating clean energy without worrying about what’s happening to your roof.

  1. Find out which types of solar systems they offer
    There are many pieces of hardware involved in a home solar installation. Solar panels, inverters, wiring and cables. Many (even most) solar installation companies tend to “Frankenstein” their solar systems together without testing how they’ll really perform in the real world. This may cause problems. Not just problems in the initial installation, but down the road in terms of overall system performance. If you’re shelling out thousands on a solar system, make sure your installers are using quality equipment that works well together. They should be able to provide you with an accurate energy estimate for how much your system will produce each year. If you choose wisely, it’s likely that your system will be generating energy for decades. (If you choose a SunPower solar system, it’s likely to be over 40 years.)1
  2. Find out how long they’ve been installing solar 
    Yes, it’s true that every master was once a beginner. However, experience matters in solar. When people are attaching heavy equipment to your roof, tying it to your electrical system, and in most cases allowing you to sell energy back to the grid, you want someone who knows what they’re doing. In that vein, it’s extremely important that you know that they are licensed in your state, insured and certified. Ask to view their credentials (solar, electric and general contractors licensing). The best solar installers have staff members that are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)Another common practice is subcontracting. Ask if they use subcontractors for different parts of the installation. Checking the credentials of the core company isn’t as meaningful if people who don’t have the same credentials install the system. Simplify the process and have peace of mind by choosing a company that can manage your project from start to finish, including design, installation, permits and system maintenance.
  3. Find out if they are familiar with all the incentives 
    Most people don’t have time to research every possible rebate or tax incentive. Rebates and incentives vary wildly by state, county, city and even utility provider, leading to a patchwork of regulations. Good local solar installers know the ins and outs of all the incentives you are eligible for. The best companies will file all the paperwork for you so you don’t have to worry about it.
  4. Find out what is under warranty and how long
    There’s nothing worse than getting everything installed and then finding out that your solar system isn’t working like it should be. A great way to compare solar installation companies is to ask them about what happens when something goes wrong.

    • ​What’s covered under the product warranty? How long does the coverage last?
    • What’s covered under the power warranty? How long does the coverage last?
    • Who pays for the shipping and labor to replace defective components?
    • Is there a warranty on the installation itself?
    • What happens if something goes wrong and the installer is no longer in business?
    • What happens if my system doesn’t generate the amount of electricity I was expecting?
  5. Find out what your payment options are
    There are many ways to pay for a home solar system, but not all companies offer every option. Leasing isn’t for everyone. Ask the solar installation company up front for their available options so you can compare them to other bids you’ll receive. While you’re at it, make sure they clearly explain any annual fees your utility may charge for your system to be connected to the grid, if any.
  6. Find out how you can monitor your system’s performance
    Many companies offer monitoring applications that work on both Apple and Android phones so you can monitor your solar system’s performance. It can be very fun and gratifying to watch your system save (or even make) you money and its positive effects for the planet.

Our network of dealers has installed tens of thousands of home solar energy systems around the globe. Find a local certified SunPower installer >

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NC and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

The Sierra Club has been drawing attention to the critical issue of how NC will develop its Clean Power Plan according to recent EPA rulings. We credit them for the following informative update:

Later this summer, the EPA will release its first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. This is a big deal as well as a big opportunity. States will now have the chance to create their own plans to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Pan with clean energy solutions that will protect health and support local economies.

Unfortunately, instead of seizing on this opportunity to help North Carolinians forge our own path to a clean energy future, Governor McCrory is continuing to sit on the sidelines – or sometimes even cheerleading for the opposing team – denying that we need to act at all.

On July 21, thousands from across the state are going to put pressure on the governor from all sides. We will place hundreds of calls into the governor’s office and thousands more will raise our voices of support on social media to urge him to begin a state stakeholder process for the Clean Power Plan.

Tell Governor McCrory it’s time to start developing a climate plan that works for all North Carolinians. Send him a message now.

The solutions are at hand: North Carolina has been a powerhouse in developing clean energy for decades. Our solar leadership has been key in attracting hi tech employers like Google and we’ve just broken ground on our first wind farm. North Carolina is uniquely poised to be a leader on clean energy. By starting a stakeholder process now, Governor McCrory can make sure we reduce pollution and build clean energy in the most impactful way.

You can click this link to send McCrory a message  Together we can keep North Carolina moving forward in a clean and sustainable way.


Special Legislative Update

Salutations Readers. As the direction of clean energy in NC will be critically impacted by the outcomes of several pending legislative issues, we would like to focus this blog  on the current legislative landscape for renewables in North Carolina.There are 3 areas of pending legislation that could really change things for North Carolinians: The Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit, The effort to repeal the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, and The Energy Freedom Act.

According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, last year North Carolina is in second place, behind California, for new solar project installations in the United States. It is believed that 2014 had 22,995 people employed directly in clean energy jobs. This includes jobs in geothermal, biomass, wind, energy efficiency, solar, and hydro-power sectors. This figure does not include the many indirect jobs. Renewable Energy offers a sustainable, healthy and viable way forward for our state. It will take education, effort and citizen participation to keep our state renewable energy friendly. Policies like the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit and the REPS have created a favorable environment for the growth and success of renewables. We’d like to see North Carolina take the lead in installed solar, we think you would too.

We’d like to give a shout out to NCSEA – the North Carolina Solar Energy Association for all of their amazing and relentless work on behalf of solar for North Carolina. They always have the most current information on all things solar. Check them out. Also, NC WARN is on the frontlines of keeping us informed on issues and giving us ways to take action. In this issue of our newsletter, rather than moving to the “Action You Can Take” section, you’ll find the action you can take in each update.

The Renewable Energy Tax Investment Credit

The North Carolina Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit was established in 1999 and has been renewed in 5 year increments since. Currently, the tax credit will expire on 12/31/2015. The credit can be taken against both personal and corporate income tax. The credit amount is 35% of the eligible installation costs up to 50% of a taxpayer’s tax liability. The commercial credit is limited to $2.5 million per installation and must be taken in five equal annual installments. Click this link here to see what resources are eligible for the tax credits as well as more details about the tax credits.

As of this week, the Senate has delayed the rollout of the proposed budget but it is anticipated later this week. The Senate is considering the House budget (HB97) which includes a 2 year extension of the tax credit.

At this point in time, the most helpful thing you can do is to contact your Senators (now- don’t put this off) and let them know that you want them to support an extension of the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit. If you are unsure of your Senators, or how to best contact them, use this link . This is a great campaign to involve friends and family in as well.

Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards

The growth of NC’s solar industry was spurred significantly in 2007 when NC passed Senate Bill 3 and adopted a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS.) This bill mandated that  Utilities generate 12.5% of their energy through renewable resources. The North Carolina General Assembly prioritized the use of solar electric/thermal and swine and poultry waste with “set-asides” for each. The solar industry met its targeted set-aside of at least 0.07% in 2012 much more quickly and cost-effectively than could have been predicted, and has led to significant economic impact and job creation in our state.

House Bill 332, Energy Policy Amendments, would stall the standards at 6 percent. Initially introduced to address cost recovery for natural gas utilities, the REPS amendment was added later. The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) and the national group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) oppose the proposed changes to REPS. Several AEE member companies working in North Carolina’s nascent but growing solar market issued statements against the “job-killing” legislation. “H332 is unfair to the entire ecosystem of local businesses who supply solar in N.C. This bill threatens many of the 23,000 jobs and the $4.8 billion in annual revenue that have been created in N.C. thanks to the REPS,” said Melanie Santiago-Mosier, director of government affairs for SunEdison. “It would disqualify many solar projects from longstanding benefits that make clean, renewable energy valuable for owners, on grounds that are arbitrary and capricious. Changing the rules of the road like this is anti-business and anti-consumer.”

The bill passed in the House and was sent to the Senate in late April. Language on reforming the REPS contained in H332 also exists in HB 760, the state’s omnibus regulatory reform bill, which is currently making its way through the state Senate. A third bill with the same language (HB 681) failed in the state House in late April.

NCSEA’s Legislative Weekly reported on Friday, June 12, that there was no movement that week on these bills. Time is of the essence to reach out to your Representatives asking them to oppose House Bill 332 and any energy policies that put our clean energy future at a stall.

The Energy Freedom Act – Third Party Sales

The Energy Freedom Act, introduced in March as House Bill 245, would allow third-party sales of electricity. Currently, NC is one of five states that prohibit the sale of electricity by any other entity than the Utility company. Adoption of this Bill would introduce market competition to the current utility monopoly by allowing solar leasing options by renewable energy companies.

The leasing model has been very popular in states like California where companies like Solar City and Sungevity have been very active. According to GTM Research, two out of three new residential solar installations in the US were third-party owned in 2013.  Leasing has expanded the penetration of solar significantly in mid to lower income households as it eliminates the upfront costs of purchasing.  Customers enter into a long-term contract and ownership is maintained by the solar company. While this model has undeniably led to more widespread adoption of solar energy systems, the benefits and disadvantages need to be weighed carefully against direct ownership itself. For customers who can take advantage of tax incentives and have the financial resources or financing to purchase the system themselves, direct purchase may offer greater financial savings.

However, as pointed out in a recent blog by NCSEA entitled “In NC, Everyone Can Win with Third-Party Sales of Electricity” leasing would be a boon to our military facilities and university system. Government institutions, non- profit organizations, faith communities, and others that can’t directly benefit from tax credits may find that a leasing contract offers an opportunity to bring clean energy generation to their facilities.  Large corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target, Lowes and Family Dollar support the legislation, and interestingly, Duke Energy Renewables, the unregulated arm of Duke Energy, recently made a major investment in REC Solar, a leading third-party solar company.

NCSEA reports that action has been taken on this legislation these past few weeks, but support for this bill is growing every day.  Call Your Legislator and ask them to support House Bill 245 today.