NC Senate extends deadline for filing bills; solar power bill expected to be introduced

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The Charlotte Business Journal reports North Carolina’s state Senate has extended the deadline for filing bills to be considered in this session to April 19, and some additional energy legislation is likely to be filed next week.

The extension is not unusual and does not appear to be keyed to any specific piece of legislation. Observers say it was approved to ease a rush to file bills at the original deadline April 12.

Julie Robinson of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association says her organization expects Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake) to introduce a bill that will allow solar project owners to sell power directly to customers.

The proposal could open a new market for solar developers in the state. Under current law, all commercial power plants — including solar farms — must sell the power produced to a utility. Since utilities cannot make a profit on power they buy for resale, they are generally reluctant to buy more than is required by the state.

Allowing direct sales from solar owners to customers would bypass utilities. Large commercial and industrial customers could buy their power from a project, and lock in their rates for a long-term contract, protecting them from rate increases. The bill tops the wish list for many solar companies and many in the renewable-energy industry. Read More.

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