The Fayetteville Public Works Commission has rolled out the first community solar project in North Carolina.
The utility built a 1 MW solar farm that sends power to its grid. Customers pay an enrollment charge and a monthly fee, and then get credit on their bills for the power those panels produce.
The Public Works Commission says residents who sign up for one panel will see a return on investment in about 20 months.
"Customers can actually subscribe for up to five panels, and if they do that, they will actually be earning within a year," said PWC Spokeswoman Carolyn Hinson.
The project allows homeowners and renters, especially soldiers at Fort Bragg, to benefit from solar power without installing their own panels.
“This opens up participation in this sustainable and carbon free energy source to all PWC customers including those who are in rental properties or are in the military who otherwise might not think they could get involved," said PWC's CEO and General Manager David Trego.
"About 40 percent of our residents are renters," said Hinson. "And this is a program that will be available to them. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities when you have a transient population."
Some of the funding for the $2.5 million project comes from PWC customers. The majority of it is being paid for by the solar project's subscription fees.