Harnessing the power of the sun, homeowners beam when talking about solar panels

Conserve Cape Fear: Those who made the investment say it’s the bright and right thing to do

Harnessing the power of the sun, homeowners beam when talking about solar panels

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In Southeastern North Carolina, we are lucky to bask in 215 days of sunshine a year, that’s higher than the national average.

The bright yellow ball in the sky allows those with solar panels to save some green and reduce their carbon footprint.

Those who made the investment say it’s the bright and right thing to do.

“I’ve had several months where I had a negative carbon footprint,” said Vernon Peeler, a man from Wilmington who made the switch to solar.

“I’m a Republican but I believe global warming is caused by us,” he said. “Anything we can do to help stave that off is a good thing.”

Peeler said his average bill from Duke Energy is under $50 a month.

Peeler took advantage of attractive incentives to go solar.

But each year, those enticements dim.

The federal government offers a tax credit that allows customers to deduct 30 percent of the cost of the system from their federal taxes.

In 2020, that deduction drops to 26 percent.

When it comes to incentives from the state, a 2017 law required Duke Energy to set up a rebate program for home and business owners who install solar panels.

Through the program, homeowners are eligible for up to $6,000 to install solar panels.

However, there’s a catch.

High demand means homeowners have to move faster than the speed of light to land a rebate.

According to Duke Energy, about 60 percent of those who apply receive the rebate because there is only so much money set aside for each year of the five-year, $62 million dollar program.

Duke Energy gives out about $12 million a year. In 2020, the rebate program will be in its third year. That round of rebates is up for grabs January 2.

To learn more, click here.

On a sunny day in Oak Island, we visited Martyn Hawkins, who also installed solar panels to be more friendly to the environment.

“I love it I really do,” said Hawkins.

In retirement, Martyn is mindful of his budget, so it’s a relief to have an electricity bill that averages $30 a month.

“I can’t sing the praises enough,” he said. “I would love to see more people convert to solar.”

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