Demand for photo voltaic panels surges in North Carolina

Photo: Courtesy Duke Energy

Katie Peralta

Charlotte-based Duke Energy said a record number of North Carolinians installed solar panels in their homes and businesses in 2020.

Driving messages: Last year, around 1,700 customers took advantage of a Duke Energy discount, which the company says can save customers between $ 4,000 and $ 6,000 in upfront solar costs.

  • That’s a big part, even though it costs an average of $ 28,000 to $ 31,000 to install solar panels in a home, says Sha Stollar, director of marketing at Renu Energy Solutions, which installs solar panels in the Carolinas.

Why it matters: Solar panels provide reliable access to electricity, said Stollar, and that is becoming increasingly important for customers who work from home. People are turning to solar energy for a number of reasons, including an increasing interest in sustainability.

  • Low interest rates have led homeowners to refinance their mortgages even during the pandemic. “When you refinance, you can put home improvement items like roofs, solar panels, and decks in one loan,” Stollar said.
  • Using solar energy can also help reduce energy costs.

By the numbers: Last year, around 5,500 Duke Energy customers installed private solar systems in their homes and businesses.

  • Since 2017, Duke Energy has tripled its rooftop solar customers in North Carolina – currently from 6,000 to 18,000, said Duke spokesman Randy Wheeless.

Zoom out: Across the country, customers invested more in their homes and carried out DIY projects during the pandemic. This can be seen in the increase in sales at home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.

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