Expanding its investments into the clean and sustainable energy sector, North Carolina-based Duke Energy recently acquired a controlling share in REC Solar, a company that provides third-party financing options to commercial energy customers across the country.
Third-party financing allows consumers to purchase solar power or lease the equipment through affordable monthly payments rather than shouldering the full upfront cost of a solar energy system on their property. This makes solar more affordable and has been shown to rapidly drive consumer adoption of solar power, supporting local investment and new jobs.
Duke Energy’s February 2015 investment reflects the model’s strong and successful track record. By providing “financed end-to-end service offerings to help its customers reduce energy costs, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrate corporate sustainability,” REC Solar offers its customers financing, leasing, and cash purchase options. Financing to qualified consumers is guaranteed by its parent company, Duke Energy.
A financial analysis validates the purchase of REC Solar. Since 1997 REC Solar has installed thousands of solar power setups across the nation, working with everyone from residential customers to the U.S. Army Reserve. It’s an impressive record of sustainable development and a highly effective business model. It delivers a desired service in a way that a large number of consumers can afford, and expands both the accessibility and profitability of the solar industry. Duke Energy’s investment recognizes and takes advantage of this dynamic force in the sustainable energy marketplace.
REC Solar’s growth is part of the broader industry success with the third-party model for solar installation. States that have allowed third-party financing have seen a rapid expansion in both purchases of solar technology and with investment in the solar industry as a whole. Via REC Solar, Duke Energy has formed a strategic partnership with Green Charge Networks, “the country’s largest provider of commercial energy storage for retail, industrial and government customers.” The goal of this new partnership is the adoption of more effective energy storage for residential customers and thus offset the higher prices of power during peak consumption periods.
While Duke Energy has made a financial commitment to third-party solar in other markets, those same commonsense financing options remain illegal for customers in its home state. It’s time to bring third-party solar financing options to North Carolina.