CARY, N.C. – February 5, 2019 – With all the recent news about how fast the Duke solar rebate was subscribed (within two hours on January 2, 2019), the other news is that there is still a significant amount of money waiting for non-profit applications. In Duke Energy Progress alone, the set aside for non-profits is 2500 kW AC (kilowatts alternating current) per year. These rebates, at $.75 per watt, equating to $1,875,000 each year, have largely gone unclaimed.
Duke Energy Rebates
Duke Energy sets aside 20 MW of capacity for this program each year through 2022. Ten MW will be available in the Duke Energy Carolinas service area and 10 MW will be available in the Duke Energy Progress service area. In each service area, the 10 MW will be split among homes (minimum 5,000 kW AC), businesses and nonprofits (maximum 5,000 kW AC, of which 2,500 kW AC are set aside for non-profits).
As an example, on January 2, 2019, Duke Energy Progress received 1,150 applications for the $.50 per watt of 2019 rebate for homeowners, quickly oversubscribing, with 250 on a waiting list. For non-profit rebates, DEP had 7 applications for 188kW, or $141,000. Not only was the 2500 kW AC available this year, but almost all of 2018 rebates were left over, and Duke Energy rolled those into this year, making the total available 4,527 kW AC. Of those $3,395,250 rebate dollars, less than 4% have been applied for. Non-profits do have challenges, often being underfunded or issues with securing funding. Some, like churches, are starting to recognize the opportunity and turn to their congregations for help in taking advantage of the opportunity before 2023.
Churches Opting for Solar
Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham, N.C. was one of the first houses of worship to receive the N.C. Duke Energy Solar Rebate in 2018. The congregation’s 42.7 kW AC solar project, installed by Yes Solar Solutions, was eligible for a $32,000 rebate. The system is net-metered, which means the church will use the energy it generates, with any excess sent back to the grid. That excess is applied as a credit to the energy it buys from Duke at night or on a cloudy day.
William Dolbow, a member of the church, spearheaded the project and met with other churches who had installed solar. Pilgrim UCC raised $20,000 in funds from the congregation, which the church matched, and then it borrowed from the capital fund for the balance. With the reduced monthly energy bills, the lower cost of panels, and the addition of the rebate, the payback made it a good investment. They requested three bids on the project, and after many meetings and financial models, the contract was awarded to Yes Solar Solutions.
Caring for Creation and Saving Energy
One of the ministries of Pilgrim United Church of Christ is the Environmental Ministries, which more and more communities of worship include. The church members believe in care for creation, and have taken other steps to preserve the planet and save energy like insulating the church, changing out lighting fixtures to LED, and now solar. Bill Dolbow says they “stand ready and willing to help other houses of worship evaluate solar. We want to spread the good word.”
Pilgrim United Solar System
42.7 kilowatts AC
3 SolarEdge inverters
160 SolarEdge optimizers
160 REC Twin Peaks solar panels
295 watts each
Production 69,437 kWh per year
25 year cumulative gross income $213,049
Coal saved per year 55,000 lbs.
CO2 saved per year 95,000 lbs.
Stew Miller, who co-founded Yes Solar Solutions with his wife Kathy Miller, is committed to getting non-profits the rebate dollars they deserve. “We have installed many solar systems for non-profits over the last ten years, from women’s shelters to halfway houses to affordable housing and houses of worship. Now it is more feasible than ever for a non-profit to raise the money for solar and for those who benefit the most.”
About Yes Solar Solutions: Founded in 2009 by Stew and Kathy Miller, Yes Solar Solutions is the only solar company in North Carolina accredited by NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners). Based in Cary, N.C., the company offers turn-key design and installation of solar and energy storage systems for homes and businesses and is a certified installer of Tesla Powerwall and Tesla EV charging systems.