Friday, January 28, 2005

Duke Power squashes my solar energy proposal

North Carolina supposedly encourages alternative energy. We're supposedly working towards "net metering" (here's a similar program in Washington State) and interconnectivity. But Duke Power, our Goliath, isn't cooperating.

In August 2004 David Wilson, a solar engineer from the western part of the state, designed a solar system for me, which we submitted for inclusion in Duke Power's Rider PV, its Photovoltaic System Pilot Program which "is available at the company’s option for up to 25 residential and nonresidential customers." (Read more specious drivel from Duke Power here.)

On Nov. 15, Duke's Dwight W. Moore wrote:
I have forwarded your information to Distribution Standards and to Metering services. They will review the information and confirm compliance with the PV rider. Someone will contact you to schedule a meeting at the PV site to inspect the delivery in detail.
The Duke Power guys walked around in the woods and took pictures of the power pole that services my home! And a mere two months later Dwight wrote that our setup meets the requirements! However:
At this time I cannot approve your application submitted to participate in the Rider PV (NC) program. The Insurance information you submitted was not acceptable.
I called my insurance agent and she said Duke's insurance demands are so stringent and outlandish that State Farm can't satisfy them at any cost. Duke demanded, for instance, that the policy cover injury to any line worker on any connected line anywhere. This is not required by programs in other states. So there IS no insurance I, a residential customer, can get, at any price, that will satisfy the requirements of this program.

This disingenuous "pilot program" has been in place for a few years now. I asked Dwight how many installations had actually been approved and he said, kind of sheepishly, only two: a commercial installation in Greensboro and the NCSU Solar House in Raleigh. So this so-called residential program has no residential participation. I should have known ...

What do you think could be done about this?

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At 9:31 AM, Blogger cw said...

Very disheartening towards our effort. With a mandatory and surprising 10% increase in our electric bill this month, I can only hope to get the wheels in motion sooner than later and pray that Connecticut Light & Power are a bit more lenient when it comes to implementing a solar configuration. I sit here and fight the urge to go off on some anti-government, anti-big-business tirade. Have you considered any other alternatives or have you succumb to 'the man' and just paid your bill each month?

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous maxillae said...

Duke Power has effectively done the same thing on other alternative energy programs like hydro, making the energy buy back costs so marginal as to make it unattractive and unpractical to grow a market. As I recall they were also involved in the power brokering schemes that Enron expolited in the rolling brown outs in California.It seems if you are powerful and virtually a monoloply, you can fool most of the people most of the time.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Darkmoon said...

Take a look at my blog here. I wrote about it while back and commented on the site also. Saw you at the Triangle Conference. Great questions. Hope to see you at some GSO meetups!


At 2:56 PM, Blogger Darkmoon said...

Oops.. I meant.. commented on Greensboro101.

At 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be able to help you with this issue.

Dan Whigham
SC Solar

At 9:18 PM, Blogger nkycarbon said...

What ever happened on this? Duke in Sep 2008 is all going on about they're latest solar project.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger melinama said...

When I heard about their new plan to have solar panels on private roofs, I contacted them and asked to be part of the project. They said they'd let me know if (oops, maybe when) something ever came of it. I'm not holding my breath.


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