N.C. Nonprofits Face The Challenge of Finding New Funding Strategies Following The End of Duke Energy Solar Rebates
As the Duke Energy solar rebate program approached its final months, a flurry of applications flooded in. This last-minute rush serves as a compelling reminder of the pressing need to assist North Carolina’s nonprofits in leveraging the advantages of clean energy, according to clean energy proponents.
In an impressive display of need and interest, Duke Energy witnessed an influx of 140 applications from nonprofit organizations during the last two months of 2022. The volume of these late-stage applications was almost on par with the total number of beneficiaries from the rebate program’s entire four-year run.
Laura Combs, a senior sales associate with Eagle Solar and Light, who dedicates her efforts to reaching out to organizations in economically challenged regions throughout the state, observed, “Nonprofits certainly have become increasingly aware of the power of the Duke rebate.”
The Duke Energy solar rebate program provided an attractive opportunity for various tax-exempt organizations, including congregations, schools, and others, who have previously been unable to directly benefit from clean energy tax credits. This cash-back initiative allowed these organizations to actively participate in the clean energy movement. However, the program began to wind down just as its potential and benefits were beginning to be fully realized.
With the expiration of Duke Energy’s solar rebates, Laura Combs, along with other advocates of solar energy, are actively exploring new strategies to bridge the gap. The urgency is particularly high for communities of color and those with low income, as advocates believe these groups stand to gain significantly from access to clean energy.
Combs and her fellow clean energy champions are seeking innovative approaches to fill the void left by the rebate program. They aim to ensure continued and enhanced access to clean energy for all, particularly those who are most likely to benefit from the cost-saving and environmental advantages it offers. With the right strategies and resources, they believe they can continue to make clean energy a tangible reality for more North Carolina nonprofits, thereby extending the reach of sustainable practices throughout the state.