As concerns over rising costs of electricity, climate change, and energy security grow, residential solar panels will become an increasingly important option for homeowners. In this blog post, we’ll look at how the smart solar market is changing the future of solar energy for residential properties and how you can switch to this clean, renewable power source.
In a future where all homes have the ability to produce their own clean solar power, battery storage and connectivity will become much more common and increasingly important.
An ideal system consists of solar panels on the roof producing energy; a home battery in the garage being charged by those panels (keeping solar-generated power on-site and providing backup during an outage); an electric vehicle + electric vehicle charger in the garage being charged from the panels. With this setup – you do not have to worry about rising electricity rates, your utility’s solar or net-metering policy (what they credit you for solar generated power), power outages, or even gasoline costs.
Instead of selling energy back to the grid (metering solar power), you can store your power in a battery.. Your solar battery acts as a storage device, allowing you to store that excess energy produced by the solar PV systems throughout the day for later use at night or during an outage.
In addition to keeping your solar generated power “on-site” to maximize your energy independence (lower your reliance on the utility company) – battery systems also provide backup power in the event of an outage. The residential solar batteries that are currently on the market boast a storage capacity of up to around 10-15 kWh. Depending on the battery setup (whole-home backup or just critical loads) these batteries can last a few days, a week, or even power your home indefinitely if there are sunny days and your solar panels can re-charge the battery(s).
8MSolar consultants will look at your specific needs and home (energy usage) and recommend some battery options. We install almost all makes and models of battery systems on the market – the Tesla PowerWall, the LG Energy Storage System (ESS), the Enphase battery system, among others.
Integrating a “smart” electrical panel with a battey + solar PV system is also a great option to automate things when an outage occurs – ask us about adding a SPAN, Lumin, and Leviton to your system.
Expected Changes to Solar in North Carolina
North Carolina’s solar industry and market will undergo a few expected changes in the coming years, driven by Duke Energy, the largest utility provider in the state. These changes include two main proposals – one is a revision to the current residential solar policy called the “Bridge Rate Proposal” or “Net-Metering 2.0,” and the second is the Carolinas Carbon Plan. Learn more about these two proposed changes, their timing and their potential impact below.
Net Metering Changes – Bridge Rate Proposal
The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) is considering a new proposal from Duke Energy that would change how a rooftop solar panel system would work for North Carolina residential solar customers — specifically Duke Energy customers. After back-and-forth negotiations between the Solar Industry, 8MSolar included, and Duke Energy, a program was devised that would allow current solar customers to continue receiving credit for any solar-generated power at an equal rate to what they are currently paying — so, as rates increase, solar savings increase.
This program is called the “Bridge Rate” proposal or program. Under this program, Duke solar customers will continue receiving full value (1:1) for any solar power they produce and use monthly. And any solar customers on the “Bridge Rate” would continue to receive full value for another 15 years, until 2037.
If excess power is produced and left over at the end of the month, that excess would be credited at Duke’s “wholesale” or “avoided cost” rate. Excess power at the month’s end is also credited at the 1:1 / full value rate.
This new “Bridge Rate” plan is expected to go into effect sometime in 2023. Customers who want to benefit from the current (ideal) net-metering policy should install a solar energy system as soon as possible — as anyone who installs a system before the Bridge Rate plan officially goes into effect would be “grandfathered in” to the current net-metering policy for a period of 5 years.
The NC Utilities Commission has not officially approved this plan and the details — so please check back here or give our team a call for a current update!
Carbon Plan Proposal
Another significant change coming to solar involves Duke Energy’s new carbon plan proposal. The plan is called the Carolinas Carbon Plan, which Duke Energy has officially filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
One of the many reasons people move to solar energy is to help reduce their carbon emissions, helping save the environment from the impact of climate change. The goal of Duke Energy’s Carolinas Carbon Plan is to reach 70% fewer carbon emissions by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan includes ways that the Carolinas can reach these goals, including:
- Utilizing solar three times more than today.
- Diversifying renewable power with wind resources.
- Increasing energy storage to support renewables.
- Taking steps to allow coal and natural gas use to fade over time.
Duke Energy has created a proposal that would help clean the environment, create reliable energy for consumers and reduce costs. One of the reasons that Duke Energy is focusing on implementing solar technology is because it’s one of the most affordable renewable energy resources available and has the ability to be stored for future use.
With the changes proposed by Duke Energy, it can be challenging to understand the impact it will have on solar customers. The good news is that 8MSolar is here to help you navigate these changes to solar energy in North Carolina, allowing you to make the most of your solar investment and do your part to help make the environment greener!
How 8MSolar Can Help
Looking to go solar? The smart solar market is growing, changing the future of solar energy in North Carolina. 8MSolar is a leader in the future of solar energy for residential properties. Here at 8MSolar, we want to help you get started with solar right. 8MSolar assigns a knowledgeable and dedicated Project Manager to interface with you at all stages of the project life-cycle and to give you the best solar panels for your home.
Get in touch with us for more information on solar panel installation!