Duke Energy, which earns billions from coal and nuclear power, has become sun-splashed North Carolina's biggest source of solar power - and, critics charge, an obstacle to growing the new industry.
Duke Energy Carolinas ranked 10th-largest among U.S. utilities for the amount of solar energy it brought online last year. That's because of a state law that, for the first time, required N.C. utilities to make a smidgen of their electricity from the sun.
That law, combined with state tax credits, ignited the solar industry. North Carolina leapt from the bottom 10 solar-producing states five years ago to 11th-largest now.
The 2007 law is intended to spur development of homegrown energy sources. It makes electric utilities increase their use of renewable sources, starting with a quota for solar power in 2010. Utilities can generate their own renewable energy, purchase it elsewhere or buy tradable certificates that represent units of energy.
But complaints grew about the way Duke answered the solar mandate.
Read the complete story at charotteobserver.com