SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

NC Utilities Commission Issues Order on Payments to Independent Power Producers


Contact: Katie Ottenweller, Southern Environmental Law Center, 404-521-9900,

Chapel Hill, NC–The North Carolina Utilities Commission issued an order today in its biennial proceeding to set the rates that electric utilities must pay when they buy power from independent power producers, such as solar companies.


Recognizing independent power producers’ right to long-term, fixed rates, the Commission ordered that utilities must continue to offer standard contracts for independent power producers up to 5 megawatts in size, for contract lengths up to 15 years. The Commission also refused Duke Energy’s request for inclusion of a solar integration cost penalty in its rates, noting that such inclusion will be appropriate only when both the costs and benefits of solar are fairly evaluated.


Duke Energy and Dominion, the state’s major utilities, had proposed a suite of changes that would have harmed independent solar companies’ ability to compete with utility-owned projects. The utilities also opposed calls by clean energy advocates to set rates based on the full spectrum of benefits that solar provides.


“We’re pleased that the Commission rejected attempts by Duke Energy and others to roll back long-standing policies that allow independent solar power producers to compete in a market that is dominated by monopoly utilities,” said Katie Ottenweller with the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in the proceedings.


“In today’s order, the Commission recognized the potential for solar energy to bring major benefits to North Carolina customers, and signaled a willingness to make utilities pay fair value to independent solar power producers once those benefits are quantified.”


A copy of the Commission’s Order can be found here.



Southern Environmental Law Center:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC’s team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy:

Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at