A North Carolina energy advocacy group is testing the state's utility monopoly law with the installation of solar panels on a Greensboro church.

NC WARN and Faith Community Church of Greensboro announced the arrangement Wednesday, calling their challenge a “test case” to break Duke Energy's state control of power sales.

The News and Observer of Raleigh reports the group plans to sell electricity to the church and its community center for 5 cents a kilowatt hour, less than half the price the church currently pays to Duke. NC Warn can't begin selling power to the church until Duke changes the church's utility meter to allow the solar power to flow into the building.

Duke will ask the Utilities Commission to reject NC WARN's application. North Carolina is a regulated utility market that restricts third parties from selling electricity to a business or household.

24 states allow third-party leasing options, with Georgia enacting its policy in March. If NC WARN loses its legal challenge, director Jim Warren said it would donate the rooftop solar array to the church.

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