CHARLOTTE -- The North Carolina Utilities Commission approves a $62 million solar rebate program which Duke Energy believes will triple the amount of buildings with solar panels in North Carolina.

“We’re looking at these [rebates] being able to subsidize as much as 40 or 50 percent of the total cost,” Brandon Wolfe of Renu Energy Solutions said.

The Competitive Energy Solutions for North Carolina law passed last year requires Duke Energy to set up rebates for customers using solar energy.

Now the company is committing to rebate residential customers up to $6,000 for installing a solar energy system. Duke Energy says the average homeowner would save $4,800.

Businesses can get up to $50,000 in rebates, and non-profits can earn up to $75,000.

“The program is actually retroactive,” Duke Energy spokesman Randy Wheeless said. “So if their solar system has been put in in 2018, they’re still eligible for the rebate program.”

Duke Energy expects the rebates to increase rooftop solar in North Carolina by 200 percent.

“Maybe for some people it could have been a little bit out of their reach,” Wolfe said. “Now with this rebate coming back in the form of a check back to them, it makes solar a lot more affordable.”

The program also opens up the ability for customers to lease solar equipment.

Duke Energy says it has more than 6,000 customers with private solar systems.

The solar rebate program will expire when the $62 million is used up. The company expects that to take about four years.