Report: South Carolina’s Power Bills Highest In America

A new Energy Information Administration report released in February shows the average South Carolina resident spent $1,753 on electricity in 2016, about $400 more than the U.S. average and nearly twice the average customer in New Mexico, the lowest-expenditure state.

South Carolinians Pay Higher Electric Bills Than Any Other State

Average monthly residential electricity bills vary significantly by state based on a number of factors including average temperatures and the availability of electricity alternatives like natural gas. In southeastern states like South Carolina, a majority of homes use electricity for both winter heating and summer cooling, requiring more kilowatt-hours and thus contributing to higher power bills.

Related Reading: South Carolina Rebates & Incentives For Going Solar

Save Money On Power Bills With Southern Current

Southern Current was voted Charleston’s #1 Solar Company in 2017 by The Post and Courier. Our solar panel installation services are available throughout the Southeast, so Contact us TODAY to schedule a FREE consultation and find out how much you could be saving with solar!

Report: South Carolina Solar Jobs Increased In 2017

Need another reason to support solar power in South Carolina? One word: Jobs. Solar industry employment in South Carolina grew by 2% last year, at a time when the national trend of solar employment decreased across the country. According to the latest Solar Jobs Census by The Solar Foundation, over 2,800 workers are now employed by South Carolina’s solar industry, with a total of 250,271 Americans working in solar across the U.S.

Solar Industry In South Carolina Now Provides Over 2,800 Jobs

In the five-year period between 2012 and 2017, solar employment grew nationally by 110% overall or 16% annually, adding 131,000 jobs. Within this period, solar employment grew nine times faster than the overall U.S. economy, and one in every 100 new jobs was a solar job.

Solar makes up just under 2% of overall U.S. energy generation, yet it employs twice as many workers as the coal industry, almost five times as many as nuclear power, and nearly as many workers as the natural gas industry.

Women made up 27% of the solar workforce in 2017, down 1% from 2016. Veterans made up 9% of solar workers, which is 2% more than the overall U.S. workforce.

“One of the largest economic drivers in rural South Carolina is solar, as developers are investing billions of dollars in new infrastructure, creating millions of dollars in new tax revenue, and providing a diversified source of income that is critical to farmers. South Carolina should be looking to innovative companies like Southern Current who have proven to be competitive in a non-competitive market by providing the lowest cost power to our grid.” -Congressman Mark Sanford

Net Metering Cap Threatens Booming Industry, Jobs

A current state law ensures that no more than 2 percent of South Carolina’s electricity production can come from solar panels on people’s homes. But with the recent boom in solar installations, industry members are concerned that the 2 percent threshold may be met sooner than later. Solar companies are appealing to state lawmakers to raise or remove the cap in the name of jobs and energy savings.

“The net metering cap, if not raised, leaves no more room for residential solar. Therefore companies working in South Carolina will have to find alternative markets, like North Carolina, to do business in. It would be a real detriment to a state that’s trending up while the rest of the nation is going down.” -Steffanie Dohn, Southern Current’s Director of Government Relations

“At the rate we’re growing we anticipate over $280 million in new job wages (nationally) and $65 million in South Carolina. However, if the net metering cap is not changed, these numbers will decrease dramatically,” she added.

Learn More About Solar Power In South Carolina

According to our analysis, the average homeowner could expect to save money for 25 years with a new solar panel installation in South Carolina. Plus, available solar rebates & incentives from the state of South Carolina and local power companies bring down the overall cost, making now one of the best times to look into cutting your power bill in half (or more) with a solar power system!

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top Solar Installers in the Southeast, with capabilities in residential solar for homes, commercial solar for businesses, and utility-scale solar farms for property owners and utilities. Schedule a solar consultation today to receive a free analysis of how much money you could be saving with a solar panel installation! Don’t wait – Summer power bills are coming soon!

14 Reasons To Fall In Love With Solar Energy

Love is in the air this week, can you feel it?! And Southern Current’s team of solar experts has all the feels for providing you with some lovely information you might be surprised to learn about solar power.

Reasons To Fall In Love With Solar This Valentine’s Day

#1 Solar energy is free from the sun

The sun rises each day, emitting an unlimited amount of solar radiation that costs nothing to use.

#2 Solar is clean, no carbon emissions

Solar energy is clean energy, a resource that has zero carbon emissions. By producing your own clean energy with solar, you are reducing the amount of dirty power used from fossil fuel-based power generation. Solar power has ZERO greenhouse gas emissions! Click to learn more about the environmental benefits of solar in South Carolina.

#3 Solar is renewable and will not run out anytime soon

Fossil fuels are non-renewable, meaning they draw on limited resources that will eventually run out. By contrast, solar energy is constantly replenished and will never run out. As long as the sun shines with each new day, we’ll always have solar energy!

#4 Solar can be used as a fuel source to power and electric car

Another lovely aspect of solar energy is that it can be used as the fuel source to power an electric car. PV2EV is a buzz phrase sometimes used by members of the solar and electric car communities which refers to a scenario where solar panels (photovoltaics or “PV”) provide the electricity to recharge an electric vehicle (EV). You can drive on sunshine when you charge your electric car with energy generated by solar panels on your roof!

In fact, a Southern Current residential solar customer has a rental property which he uses as a “sustainability model home” and serves as a charging station for other EV owners. When not used by other electric car drivers he charges his Tesla – a premium electric car that has earned top automotive safety and design awards. Click to learn more about solar power and electric cars.

#5 Solar can be used as a resource to power a home

Installing solar panels on your roof allows you to essentially own a solar power plant that delivers power to your home each day. The system gets connected to your electric panel, and your utility meter, and can pull power from the grid when needed (like on cloudy days and during the night).

#6 It can even be used to power a business

Just like the above scenario, business owners can power their facilities with sunlight harnessed by solar panels. Southern Current has helped a large number of commercial entities go solar, including Target stores in Anderson, Florence, Greenville, Simpsonville & Spartanburg, South Carolina!

#7 Solar energy can power the entire world

More power from the sun hits the Earth in a single hour than all of the world uses in an entire year. Researchers have said that if we covered an area of land about the size of Spain with solar panels we could generate enough solar energy to power the entire Earth! And Elon Musk has said that if we covered just a corner of Utah or Nevada with solar panels, we could power the entire United States!

#8 Going solar helps people save money on power bills

In 2017 a new solar project was installed every 84 seconds across America, as more and more home owners turned to solar to help them reduce their carbon footprints and energy bills. Southern Current helped Steve V. and his family in Greenville reduce their power bill by 60%, helped Brenda and Gary S. in Charleston save $243.62 on their August power bill, and helped other customers like Marv N. eliminate their power bills completely with solar panels!

#9 Going solar increases home resale value

Another benefit from going solar is that the value of your home will increase. This is according to researchers at the Department of Energy who found that, on average, adding a new set of solar panels increases the value of the home by $15,000 dollars.

#10 The solar industry employees hundreds of thousands of Americans

According to the 2017 Solar Jobs Census conducted by The Solar Foundation, the solar industry now employs more than 250,000 Americans! The solar workforce increased by 168% in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017.

#11 There’s a 55% of SALE on solar thanks to federal & state tax credits

Both the state of South Carolina and the US federal government currently offer tax credits to make going to solar a lot more affordable. A federal tax credit worth 30% of the total system cost and installation is available for home and business owners, while an additional 25% tax credit is available from the state of South Carolina.

Plus, Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas, South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G), Santee Cooper, and other local electric utilities have unique solar rebate & incentive programs which provide additional savings when installing solar power systems! Click to learn more about South Carolina Solar Power Rebates and Incentives.

#12 Solar power can even be used at night when the sun isn’t shining

Batteries and energy storage applications are being developed world wide to allow the use of solar energy at night! Technology currently exists so that batteries can store energy to be used in emergency applications, like a weather-related grid-outage, and as costs come down over time you will be able to afford batteries capable of storing 100% of your energy needs.

#13 Solar powered mass transportation is on the horizon

Solar Impulse 2 is a solar powered electric plane that successfully traveled the entire planet using only sunlight as fuel, the Tiny Solar House is an off-grid tiny house on wheels that was towed across America’s National Parks using only solar power for electricity, and PlanetSolar is the first ship to circumnavigate the globe on solar power alone.

#14 Using solar power feels great

Opening your power bill each month to see how much money you’ve saved is a delightful feeling after you’ve installed solar panels!

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Southern Current! We LOVE solar and we know you will too!

How To Tell If Your Roof Is Right For Solar Panels

Are you thinking about installing solar panels to harvest energy from sunlight and pay less for power? If so, it’s important to know that in order to maximize the production of the solar energy system, the solar panels must be installed in the best and optimal location.

Is your house a good candidate for solar? Consider these tips

The rooftop of any building is the most suitable place for installing solar panels. It goes without saying that solar panels require maximum sunlight, but large rooftops facing south are the best to go solar. This is because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so a south-facing roof will receive sunlight throughout the entire day, as opposed to just morning or afternoon sun.

However, when roof placement is not possible, solar panels can also be installed on the ground, where land space is available. Here are some examples…

 

View of dual ground-mounts, part of a solar power system in Florence, SC designed & installed by Southern Current.

Even with the best location for installing solar panels, there are other conditions that must be taken into consideration to determine if your roof is suitable for solar.

Is Your Climate Suitable For Solar?

Solar panels require sunlight. So what if you live in a city that’s not sunny year round? It is interesting that most of the United States is far from being as sunny as California or Hawaii, and still solar panels are installed all across America. This is because if you do not live in the most sunlit of places, you can still produce your own power with a solar energy system part of the time.

So while a sunny climate is the perfect condition for solar energy generation, living where there is not a lot of sunshine should not deter you from considering solar energy as an option for your home.

After all, producing some amount of your own power is better than none at all. And every kilowatt-hour that you produce from solar is a kilowatt-hour that doesn’t have to be burned from a dirty power plant!

Is Your Roof Solar Ready?

There are a few factors to consider when thinking about solar panel placement on your roof:

Pitch Angle, Direction, Shape And Size Of Your Roof

The best position for solar panels is towards the south, but even west and east facing roofs can accommodate solar. A 30-degree angle is suitable for the best year-round solar production, but anywhere from 15 to 40 degrees can be great as well. Even panels installed on flat roofs can produce a decent amount of energy, as long as the sun is shining bright high up in the sky.

Aerial view of a Southern Current home solar panel install in Summerville, South Carolina.

Large roofs are great for solar panels, and generally the larger the roof the more room is available for solar placement. However, you should keep in mind that skylights, dormers and pipes can affect overall available space available for a solar installation.

Age Of Your Roof

Most solar panels carry a guaranteed lifetime of power production for 25 years, and recent studies have shown that solar panels continue producing power after 40 years. If your roof is old, it can create a problem, as having to remove and reinstall panels from a roof that needs to be replaced because of age is going to eat into the cost savings delivered by solar.

So consider having an older roof replaced before you go solar. Many installers have roofing backgrounds, and may be able to replace your roof or refer you to another company that can manage a roof replacement during the solar install.

Shading On The Roof

If your roof is shaded by nearby buildings or trees, this can reduce your amount of sunlight absorption and thus solar energy production. It is therefore vital to remove all obstructions to the sunlight coming into contact with the solar panels.

Trimming tree limbs can be a good solution, and even though removing trees is far from being environmentally friendly, the environmental benefits derived by switching to fossil fuel power (from the grid) to solar power (from your solar panels) can outweigh the potential harm of removing a tree.

Related Reading: The Environmental Benefits Of Solar Power In South Carolina

Further, you could seek to replant trees somewhere else on your property should you remove any to maximize your solar production.

Request a FREE home solar consultation to learn more

Hopefully this article has helped to inform you of the factors to consider before installing solar panels on your roof. If you are ready to take the next step, reach out to a professional solar installer and get an expert recommendation for your home. Southern Current is proud to be one of the largest solar installers in South Carolina, with services available across the Southeast.

Contact Southern Current to learn about $0 Down solar financing options and how you can save on your monthly power costs with solar panels installed on your roof.

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Saving With Solar Power On James Island – Customer Interview

The following interview was conducted with Craig B., recent Southern Current solar customer who had a solar power system installed at his home on James Island, South Carolina. Find out how much money you could be saving on electricity costs by contacting Southern Current today!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an established resident, I grew up in Asheville, NC and moved to Charleston in 2010. My wife moved to Charleston in 2011. I’m an Information Security Manager for a small technology support company and my wife is a School Psychologist with the Charleston County School District.

Why did you decide to switch to solar energy?

Mostly for environmental concerns, and I feel strongly about renewable energy.

Related Reading: Environmental Benefits Of Solar Power In South Carolina

How much did you know about solar energy?

I knew quite a bit behind the science of solar power, but I was impressed with the progress that has been made with technology used in the systems and on the installs.

What kind of system did Southern Current install for your home?

7.38 kW roof mounted solar power system with Mission Solar modules (made in America). Click to view more details about this James Island South Carolina solar panel install.

View of James Island solar panel install by Southern Current.

What made you choose Southern Current for your solar installation?

I valued a locally owned and operated solar installer (not a national company), and my friends spoke highly of Southern Current.

What was the process of going solar like?

It was way easier than anticipated. My sales rep., Doug Hayden, was exceptional in communication and guidance.

What was the most difficult part of the process for you?

We had an aging roof (18 years old) and had to replace the roofing in order to feasibly install the system. Finding the right roofing vendor for that was a long process.

What benefits have you seen since the installation?

Our power bill has been greatly reduced, and we expect to realize even better benefits during spring & summer months when abundant sun levels peak.

What would you say to someone who is interested in going solar?

I highly recommend doing it, especially before the Federal & State solar incentives expire. Also, it is a tremendous way to do our part to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Learn More About Solar Power In South Carolina!

Southern Current is proud to be one of the leading solar companies in South Carolina, with Residential, Commercial, and Utility-Scale services available throughout the Southeast. Contact us TODAY to schedule a FREE consultation and find out how much you could be saving with solar!