CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy plans to add 680 megawatts of solar energy — enough to power about 125,000 homes — to its capacity in 2019, according to the company.

“Duke Energy has 2,500 megawatts of solar connected to its NC grid in North Carolina – right now,” a spokesperson says.

“We added more than 500 MW in 2018.”

Duke Energy launched a competitive bidding process for new solar capacity last year. The process is being overseen by an independent administrator.

Duke Energy offers a $62 million rebate program for residential, commercial and nonprofit customers in North Carolina, helping 1,700 customers go solar in 2018 — the capacity limit for both residential and nonresidential customers.

“Combined with constructive legislation, our programs have solar energy growing in both North Carolina and South Carolina,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. “The response from customers has been strong. We expect demand and adoption to grow further as we roll out additional solar programs.”

Demand for solar energy from residential customers has been so strong that the rebate allotment has already been reached for 2019. Three years remain in the rebate program in which rebates will be offered to customers.

“The rebate program was a great incentive for us to install a 32-kilowatt solar system on our church in 2018,” said Rev. Stephanie Allen of Church of the Nativity in Raleigh. “As a faith community, we seek to be good stewards of our resources – both financial and environmental. Duke Energy’s rebate program helped us with both.”

Duke Energy is headquartered in Charlotte and is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. with about 29,000 employees.

This story is from the North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism