Shared solar brings energy savings to low- and moderate-income households

August 15th, 2019
By Shelley Robbins

Solar is all the rage in South Carolina these days, but there is a common misperception that low income households are being left out. That is being remedied now.

Duke Energy Carolinas has rolled out a new program for low- and moderate-income households that pretty much guarantees bill savings — for homeowners as well as renters — but without requiring panels on your roof. The concept is called shared solar.

When you have a subscription to a shared solar program, the panels are part of a solar farm. They aren’t on your roof or even connected to your house or apartment, but you still get the solar savings on your bill each month.

This is a special new program only available to low- and moderate-income Duke customers who meet certain qualifications: When you apply, you can’t have a past due balance and cannot have more than two late bills in the past year. Also, your household income cannot be above 200% of the federal poverty level. For a household of one, that’s $24,980; for two it’s $33,820; for three it’s 42,660 and for four, it’s $51,500.

This program is perfect for seniors and others on a fixed income, for example, but space in the program is limited. There are no application or enrollment fees — only bill savings. Each approved applicant receives a subscription for two kilowatts of solar production each month. There is a fee of $12 per month, but that fee is more than covered by the solar production that is credited on the bill — so the net will almost always be a credit.

Duke has had time to see the solar farms in action (they’re in Anderson County) and to model bill savings for participants in this program. Over the course of a year, the program is expected to save participants at least $100 a year or more. The credit will be higher in the summer when the days are long and lower in the winter — it’s all tied to the sun.

Upstate Forever has been anxiously awaiting the roll-out of this program, and we are excited to share the news with the whole Upstate. If you think you might qualify, you can click here to learn more or call Duke Energy at 866-233-2290.

The Upstate is all about community. So if you don’t qualify but you have a friend, relative or neighbor who does but who may need help with the application, please reach out to them. The benefits of clean, low cost solar energy should be for everyone, and this is how we start to make that happen.

Shelley Robbins is the Energy & State Policy Director at Upstate Forever and can be reached at

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