On September 20, Duke Energy announced a $300,000 investment to install solar panel systems at up to 10 North Carolina schools. Numerous media outlets summarized Duke’s press release, hailing the company for its charity to schools and solar education.
A footnote in the announcement is key: Duke is doing this as part of a $5.4 million settlement in 2015 with the Environmental Protection Agency and several environmental groups over possible Clean Air Act violations.
The company denied any wrongdoing but settled “solely to avoid the costs and uncertainties of continued litigation.”
Duke’s press release and much of its coverage failed to disclose two important details: Duke is heavily involved with the two nonprofits in charge of the solar schools project, and the company has been actively restricting the solar industry in North Carolina for years.