Note: The NC Utilities Commission issued an order modifying Duke Energy's net metering rules for residential systems in March 2023. The Commission order also approved a Proposed Bridge Rate, which was included in a Stipulation agreed to by Duke Energy and a consortium of solar installers. Beginning July 1, 2023, residential customers applying for net metering will have to choose between the new rules adopted in the March 2023 order, or the Proposed Bridge Rate. Residential customers who own their systems and signed a net metering agreement prior to July 1, 2023 may remain on those prior tariffs until January 1, 2027. The summary below begins with a description of the historical net metering rules, followed by a description of the new rules and the Proposed Bridge Rate.
Traditional Net Metering (Residential Systems Interconnected Prior to July 1, 2023, and All Nonresidential Systems)
Eligibility and Availability
Net metering is available to all customers who own or lease systems that generate electricity using solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, ocean or wave energy, biomass resources, combined heat and power (CHP) which uses waste heat derived from eligible renewable resources, or hydrogen derived from eligible renewable resources.* Customers may net meter under any available rate schedule. However, customers that choose to take service under any tariff other than a time-of-use demand (TOUD) tariff must surrender to the utility all renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the customer’s generation – with no compensation for the customer.
The individual system capacity limit is one megawatt (MW). There is no aggregate capacity limit on net-metered systems. For residential systems up to 20 kilowatts (kW) and non-residential systems up to 100 kW in capacity, utilities may not charge any standby charges or any additional metering charges other than those charged to customers who do not net meter under the applicable rate schedule. For larger systems, utilities are allowed to impose standby charges consistent with approved standby rates applicable to other customer-owned generation.
Net Excess Generation
In general, any customer net excess generation (NEG) during a billing period is carried forward to the following billing period at the utility’s full retail rate, and then surrendered to the utility – with no compensation for the customer – at the beginning of each summer billing season. However, the treatment of generation and NEG for customers on TOU-demand tariffs is more complicated. For these customers, on-peak generation is used to offset on-peak consumption, and off-peak generation is used to offset off-peak consumption. Any remaining on-peak generation is then used to offset off-peak consumption. Off-peak generation may only be used to offset off-peak consumption.
Utilities must file with the NCUC annual reports indicating the number of net-metering applicants and customer-generators, the aggregate capacity of net-metered generation, the size and types of renewable-energy systems, the amounts of on-peak and off-peak generation credited and ultimately granted to the utility, and the reasons for any rejections or removals of customer-generators from a net-metering arrangement.
New Net Metering Rules and Transitional Bridge Rate (Systems Interconnected on or After July 1, 2023)
Eligibility and Availability
The revised net metering rules apply to all residential customers who own or lease systems that generate electricity using solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, ocean or wave energy, biomass resources, combined heat and power (CHP) which uses waste heat derived from eligible renewable resources, or hydrogen derived from eligible renewable resources.* The new net metering rules require a customer to be on a time-of-use tariff, however the Proposed Bridge Rate does not require a time-of-use tariff.
Net Excess Generation
Production and consumption are netted on a monthly basis. For customers on a time-of-use tariff, netting will occur separately within each time period. Any excess generation remaining within any time period at the end of the month will be credited at the avoided cost rate.
Residential customers with a solar system with a capacity greater than 15 kW-DC must pay a monthly Grid Access Fee of $1.50 per kW per month for Duke Energy Progress and $2.05 per kW per month for Duke Energy Carolinas. Customers with system of any size must also pay non-bypassable charges associated with cost recovery for Duke's demand-side management programs. The non-bypassable charges are $0.44 per kW per month for Duke Energy Progress and $0.36 per kW per month for Duke Energy Carolinas. Net metering customers are also subject to a monthly minimum bill of $28 for Duke Energy Progress and $22 for Duke Energy Carolinas. Customers taking service under the Transitional Bridge Rate do not have to pay the Grid Access Fee, but they do have to pay the non-bypassable charges and minimum bill.
* In July 2006, the NCUC extended net metering to eligible systems with battery storage. "Gaming” a net-metering arrangement by using battery storage to manipulate a TOU tariff is not allowed.