Author: Dan Gearino        Published:  May 14, 2018             Inside Climate News

An environmental group installed solar panels atop Faith Community Church to sell the church cheap, clean electricity. Credit: NC WARN

An environmental group installed solar panels atop Faith Community Church three years ago to sell the church clean energy at rates far lower than the local utility’s. A court ruled that by selling the power, the group violated state restrictions. Credit: NC WARN

A North Carolina environmental group that tried to challenge the state’s utility monopoly by installing solar panels on the roof of a predominantly African-American church and selling the church cheap, clean power has lost its appeal to the state’s highest court.

Advocates say they are disappointed in the ruling, but they aren’t giving up the fight to lift restrictions on clean energy.

The case involved an attempt to bust through restrictions that solar advocates face in much of the Southeast.

The region has a history of maintaining strong utility monopolies while other states have opened their markets to competition. The result, advocates say, limits rooftop solar in a region with some of the strongest solar power potential.