When you add solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to your business, you can generate clean, renewable electricity any time the sun is shining. And if you qualify for our SunSense® Commercial Solar PV program Duke Energy will provide a rebate to help reduce the cost of installation. The program:
Important Update: The SunSense Commercial Solar PV program is fully subscribed for 2015. Please monitor this SunSense webpage for future updates.
How the program works
Duke Energy has allocated $1.3 million per year towards the 2015 commercial PV program for customers wishing to install a PV system and qualify for a rebate. Please note:
How to estimate potential rebate amount
The SunSense Commercial Solar PV program provides a rebate based on the installed DC rated size of your PV system:
For example, a 30 kW PV system will receive a SunSense rebate of $50,000 ($20,000 for the first 10kW and $30,000 for the remaining 20 kW of the system).
How to get started
Start by contacting solar contractors in your area to evaluate your site's potential for generating solar energy. It's always a good idea to secure quotes from several contractors. If you decide to proceed and want to apply for the Duke Energy rebate, review the requirements and follow the steps outlined in the application process.
It is important to note that to qualify for the incentive; installation of your PV system should not begin prior to receiving approval from Duke Energy.
To qualify for the commercial solar PV program, you must be a Duke Energy customer. You must be the account holder, and plan to own the solar PV system installed on the business. There can only be one rebate approved per premise.
For additional program details, view our Frequently Asked Questions tab or email CommercialSolarPV@duke-energy.com.
Below you'll find program details and answers to frequently asked questions about participating in the SunSense Commercial Solar PV Program.
Who is eligible to participate in the program?
A commercial customer served by Duke Energy . The customer must be the Duke Energy account holder, occupy the business facility where the solar PV system is installed, and own the proposed solar PV system. There can only be one rebate approved per premise.
How will I know if my business is a good candidate for solar PV? What should I consider?
Basic requirements include a facility with a suitable site for installation of a PV system – preferably south-facing, with no shading or obstructions. PV systems generally have a 20-year life, so note trees or buildings that may block the sun in the future. Even partial shading can significantly reduce the performance of a PV system.
After your initial assessment, contact one or more solar installer(s) to determine if PV is the right choice for your business. The installer(s) can provide a solar site assessment and estimate kWh production potential and price for a system.
How do I choose a solar installer?
Duke Energy requires that you use a licensed contractor to install the system. Duke Energy does not endorse or recommend installers, but suggests the following sites to research qualified installers in your area:
How do I know if the installer is a licensed contractor?
You may verify a contractor license at www.myfloridalicense.com or call 850.487.1395. Or contact your local building department.
What size systems are eligible?
Customers with PV systems ranging in size from 2 kW DC to 100 kW DC are eligible to participate and may earn an incentive based on the kW value. You may install a system larger than 100 kW, but the incentive is limited to a maximum of $130,000 per business.
Once installed, the system must be capable of producing at least 1,000 kWh per kW DC each year.
Are both roof-mounted and ground-mounted systems eligible?
Yes. You should select the optimal installation for your property.
How do I know if the panels are installed correctly?
To optimize energy production, the system must be installed at specific angles relative to the south and to the horizon, referenced as azimuth and tilt. This information, along with other technical information, will be documented in your application.
To determine how much energy (in kWh) your proposed solar array will produce, enter your PV system information into the PVWatts online analysis tool, located on our Resources page, For items related specifically to your site (such as coordinates or shading, sun-tracking and soiling derate factors), enter information from the required site analysis conducted by your contractor using Solar Pathfinder, Sun Eye, or an equivalent tool. We will not approve applications that install systems generating less than 1,000 kWh/year per kW DC system size.
How many projects will you approve each year and are you targeting specific regions?
There is no limit on the number of projects or locations, but Duke Energy will only approve applications totaling up to $1,300,000 in rebates each calendar year.
How do I sign up?
Follow the detailed instructions on the Application Process tab.
Will my project be automatically approved?
No, Duke Energy will independently review and approve applications to ensure that the system ownership, location and installation specifications meet the full program requirements.
When will I know if my application has been accepted into the program?
Duke Energy will contact each applicant within 15 business days of receiving the application to provide notification of application status and to schedule an on-site Business Energy Check (BEC) if appropriate. The BEC must be completed within 20 business days of being scheduled for application approval.
After the BEC is completed, Duke Energy will notify you of approval to begin installation of the PV system. Duke Energy allows 90 days from the date of application approval to receive documentation indicating completion of the project. Once the system is installed, you must return the Certificate of Completion (which is sent to you upon application approval) and Duke Energy will validate the installation on-site. Refer to the Application Process tab for detailed information on the timetable.
Following installation, you should also proceed with interconnecting your system with Duke Energy to receive a bi-directional meter. Upon successful validation of both the system installation and complete interconnection (including new meter install), you will be placed on the Net Metering Tariff located on our Resources tab. You should receive your one-time rebate check within 8-10 weeks.
When does the 90-day time frame to qualify for the Duke Energy rebate start and end?
The 90-day period begins on the date that the application is approved by Duke Energy. This date will be clearly specified on the Certificate of Completion form.
The date that the Certification of Completion is received by Duke Energy must be no more than 90 days from the date the application is approved.
How do I schedule a Business Energy Check?
Duke Energy will contact you within 15 business days of receiving your completed application to schedule an on-site Business Energy Check.
What is the average cost of a solar PV system?
The installed cost of a commercial solar photovoltaic system varies by system type, size and manufacturer. Typically, systems cost approximately $5,000 to $7,000 per kilowatt (before tax credits and incentives). Customers should contact a solar installer to determine potential benefits and exact pricing.
Can I receive a tax incentive for installing solar?
You may be eligible for a federal- or state-sponsored tax incentive. Customers can learn more about tax incentives by referencing the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiencies. Duke Energy does not administer tax incentive programs or advice, but we suggest consulting your tax advisor and a reputable source to understand how to utilize solar tax incentives.
Can I install the system myself?
No, Duke Energy requires that the installer be an appropriately licensed contractor. This ensures that systems are installed safely and consistent with the general laws of Florida.
Can I get a rebate on more than one PV installation?
Each commercial customer can participate with one PV system per premise. If your business has multiple locations in our service territory that are individually metered and physically separated they will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the end of each funding year based on availability of remaining funds.
Can I offset my electric use under this program, or net-meter?
Yes. To be eligible, the system must be connected so that power generated by the solar panels flows directly to the business, enabling you to use solar generation to offset electric consumption. At times the panels may create more power than is needed at the business. Duke Energy's custom meter measures the excess energy feeding back into the grid. The excess energy may be used to offset your energy usage in future months. See the Net Metering Tariff located on our Resources tab for all terms and conditions.
Is my system eligible for incentives if it is already installed?
No. To qualify for an incentive, installation must begin after Duke Energy accepts the application and has completed an on-site Business Energy Check. Approved systems must be new (inverter, panels and balance of system) to qualify.
When can I install my system?
To qualify for an incentive, installation must begin after Duke Energy accepts the application and has completed an on-site BEC.
What if an issue arises while my system is being installed?
Please contact your contractor to work through any questions or issues related to system installation. Duke Energy does not provide call support or field services for the installation or maintenance of the PV systems.
Where can I get more information?
If you can't find an answer to your question within this FAQ or elsewhere on the SunSense Commercial PV Web page, email us at CommercialSolarPV@duke-energy.com.
Listed below are documents which support the application process and external links to additional information: