Duke Energy asks for $1000/day penalty for solar panels on N.Carolina church

Church members cutting green ribbons to celebrate their solar panelsRodriguez/News&Record

When environmental advocates started selling cheap solar power to a church in Greensboro, N.C., five months ago, they did it to test the state’s ban on non-utility providers of renewable energy. But now the state’s largest utility, Duke Energy, is fighting back.

Not even a David vs Goliath — since Duke Energy owns most of the weasel legislators and commissioners in the state — they own the governor, too.

As state regulators review the controversial case, the battle lines are clearly drawn. Advocates at North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC WARN) and members of Faith Community Church support policy change. Duke Energy has responded by asking regulators to impose a stiff financial penalty against NC WARN that could threaten to shut down the organization.

“The stakes are high,” said Jim Warren, executive director of NC WARN, a small nonprofit dedicated to tackling climate change by promoting renewable energy. Referring to Duke Energy, Warren said, “they certainly don’t want competition.”…

North Carolina is one of four states with limitations on third-party sales. Earlier this year legislators proposed a bill allowing third-party solar providers in the state, but it failed to get out of committee. Seeing this case as an opportunity, SolarCity and other solar proponents including North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light have filed in support of NC WARN’s position…

“The law is clear in North Carolina,” said company spokesman Randy Wheeless. If you want to sell power in the state, that makes you a utility and subject to all the regulations that come with that role. That’s why Duke has proposed regulators impose a $1,000 fine on NC WARN for every day its solar panels are connected to the grid…

If NC WARN loses the case, it has already agreed to donate the 20-panel solar array to Faith Community so the non-denomenational, largely African-American church would continue to benefit from solar power.

Ain’t exactly a parade of faith-based conservative in North Carolina lining up to defend a mostly Black church. Especially when that church is challenging a very profitable state utility. And their current specialty is polluting the state’s waters.

2 thoughts on “Duke Energy asks for $1000/day penalty for solar panels on N.Carolina church

  1. Update says:

    Facing investor pressure, Duke Energy prepping climate report https://www.axios.com/facing-investor-pressure-duke-energy-prepping-climate-report-15fe0068-45c8-480b-88a7-9cc295fb75cd.html One of America’s largest utility companies, Duke Energy, is set to release a report later this month that sketches a drastically changed electricity mix in a carbon-constrained future. Duke provides electricity to more than seven million customers in the Carolinas, the Midwest and Florida.
    See also NC Warn @ http://www.ncwarn.org/

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