Solar energy on forefront of protest

by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Dozens of people came out to protest Duke Energy's plan Monday to pay solar customers less for the unused energy they generate.
 
The environmental group Greenpeace said Duke Energy is greedy.
 
Eyewitness News reporter Stephanie Coueignoux was outside Duke Energy’s headquarters and spoke to both sides.
 
Greenpeace is upset Duke Energy plans to start paying its solar customers 5 to 7 cents for each kilowatt of unused energy.
 
Duke currently pays them 10 to 11 cents per kilowatt and the change could happen by the end of this year.
 
“Of course it's being greedy,” said Kojo Nanatambo, president of the Charlotte NAACP. “They're always saying that they want to make energy cheaper but at the same time they're raising prices and laying people off."

Duke Energy told Channel 9 it has to keep other customers in mind.
 
The company already pays solar farms 5 to 7 cents a kilowatt and solar prices have dropped.
 
“What happens with overpaying is the rest of our customers kind of pick up that tab and that's not fair,” said Randy Wheeless with Duke Energy.

Charlotte City Councilman John Autry said homeowners aren't solar farms.

“If you can't make it affordable for people to make that investment, there will be fewer people to make that investment,” Autry said.

Duke Energy said its committed to the environment and for the past seven years, it has spent $3 billion on wind and solar energy.
 
Greenpeace said it will hold several more rallies over the next few months.

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