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November 03, 2015

N.C. Energy Giant Wants Nonprofit Fined for Solar Project

North Carolina-based Duke Energy, the nation's largest power utility, is urging state regulators to levy fines that could exceed $120,000 against a nonprofit for selling power from solar panels to a church, the Charlotte Observer and the Winston-Salem Journal report.

In a complaint to the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Duke contends that NC WARN is violating a state law under which only public utilities may sell electricity to consumers. The Durham-based advocacy group provided solar panels to Faith Community Church in Greensboro as a test case to determine if the law allows a so-called "third-party sale" of renewable energy between nonprofits.

Duke is calling for a fine of up to $1,000 for each day of the alleged violation, a penalty that could top $120,000 if applied from the July start of the nonprofit's deal with the church. WARN argues it is not a utility subject to the law on energy sales because it is dealing with a specific customer, not the general public. The Utilities Commission is set to rule on the case after a period of public comment closes Nov. 20.