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Environmental groups appeal NC's new rules that cut rooftop solar credits

The largest floating solar power plant in the southeast is at Fort Bragg.
Duke Energy
File: The largest floating solar power plant in the southeast is at Fort Bragg.

Environmental groups are asking the North Carolina Court of Appeals to overturn Duke Energy's new rates and rules for residential rooftop solar panels that took effect October 1st.

The appeal was filed by the Environmental Working Group, NC WARN and other groups. They argue that state regulators erred in approving the new rules last March without an independent study of the costs and benefits of rooftop solar.

The changes reduce what rooftop solar owners get paid for excess electricity sent to the grid and add a new $10 monthly rooftop solar fee. Existing customers can remain under the old rules until 2027, including receiving bill credits equal to whatever they pay for electricity.

A spokesman said the utilities commission does not comment on appeals of its decisions. In the March order, regulators rejected arguments by the environmental groups and Attorney General's office that an independent study is required.

David Boraks is a WFAE weekend host and a producer for "Charlotte Talks." He's a veteran Charlotte-area journalist who has worked part-time at WFAE since 2007 and for other outlets including and The Charlotte Observer.