TO THE EDITOR:
I was disappointed to see that North Carolina is slipping from its top position in solar development in the Southeast. This year is the first time since at least 2012 that our state hasn’t beaten every other state in the region in new solar projects.
As one of the state’s most promising industries, solar energy is an important factor in our future economic success. Thanks to policies like REPS and PURPA, North Carolina has provided great opportunity for independent renewable energy developers. That will probably change in the near future since Duke Energy is making it harder to contract new solar projects. The new policies they propose would call for competitive bidding, which would exclude small producers from selling energy to utilities. In the end, utilities would have control of solar energy without benefitting consumers.
If Duke Energy continues its attempt to limit independent solar growth in North Carolina, we could lose a multi-million dollar industry and thousands of prospective jobs. Our strong solar industry has been a source of pride and hope for the future of the state. It would be a shame if we were to lose all of that because of monopolistic energy producers working in their own self-interest.