The bad news and the good news. The North Carolina Utilities commission last week approved Progress Energy’s Sunsense rebate change from $1000 per kilowatt AC installed to $500 per kilowatt AC installed. This means for a 5 kilowatt AC solar system, instead of $5000 in rebate from Progress Energy after installation, a homeowner would get $2500. And only days later, Progress and Public Staff agreed on a 4.7% rate hike with another 5.7% in subsequent years. Although this seems like good news, since Progress had requested 11%, the utility is trying to keep its industrial rates flat, which could mean a higher increase for already burdened residential customers.
The good news, and there is plenty, is that it was approved because the cost of solar has dropped to the point where Progress Energy could justify the lower subsidy. So in reality, it doesn’t increase the cost of solar, as it might appear to. The other good news is that the utility still pays $4.50 per kilowatt monthly, or $22.50 toward your monthly energy bill, assuming this 5 kilowatt system. Finally, the reduction is not until March 30, giving homeowners another month to file for the rebate before it takes effect. And of course, the 30% federal tax credit does not expire until 2016, and the state tax credit until 2015 (assuming the new NC legislature doesn’t try to repeal it as threatened), reducing the net cost of the system (before rebates) by 65%.
The rest of the good news is the requirement, effective in October of 2013, that the system must be installed by a certified NABCEP installer for the utility rebate. This is a great development for customers, and for companies like Yes Solar Solutions, who have already invested in the NABCEP training and certification. NABCEP is the only certification for solar installation, and you can find a certified installer in the NABCEP directory.
If you are a Progress Energy customer and have been considering solar and debating about the best time to take the plunge, NOW is the time. We can explain the rebates and solar tax credits in detail. For a turn-key solar solution, contact Yes Solar Solutions or call 919-459-4155 for a free site evaluation!