In 2015, there were just around 800 homes with solar energy in South Carolina. In 2018, that number grew to nearly 16,000 homes. That is a 2,000% growth rate! With the solar boom in the Palmetto State, we now rank second in the Southeast for residential solar. But it doesn’t stop at rooftops, solar farm development is growing too! In 2014, we ranked 31st in the nation for solar energy capacity from solar farms and now, we come in at lucky 13. In fact, the annual production from all SC solar farms is enough to power over 79,000 homes. The sun is definitely shining brightly in SC!
This growth in clean energy has been due in part to the help of lawmakers in Columbia. They put in place incentives to jumpstart solar in our state, such as establishing net metering and a rebate system for homeowners who install solar panels. Also, they established a plan for the state’s electric utilities to contract with developers to build large solar farms. The plan has worked and solar power is growing quickly.
Now that solar costs have drastically decreased and solar has rooted itself in SC, we need to evaluate those same solar policies to see if they still make sense today. Smart solar policy should support growing solar but also ensure renewable energy is the lowest price possible. Without proper policies, SC consumers could potentially be saddled with paying more than the actual market value for solar energy. As a state trying to improve education, increase teacher pay, repair failing roads, and provide for those living paycheck to check, we should do everything we can do to keep energy costs low.
With the benefits of solar being realized by so many in South Carolina, SC Clean Energy for All feels that it is time for solar to shine with smart policy.