News items re: Solar and/or Southern Current – Default Category

There’s Still Time To Lift The Cap!

Contact your South Carolina senator today to let them know you want lower energy bills, cleaner power sources, and a benefit from generating power for the grid! Find your lawmaker here: www.tenfund.org

Vote yes, save jobs! South Carolina’s largest newspaper recently issued their opinion that the Energy Freedom Act should be passed by the Senate, after a unanimous approval by the house. Without the act, “would put nearly 3,000 rooftop solar installation jobs at risk and shortchange homeowners with solar panels.”

https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/expand-solar-markets-in-south-carolina/article_be18969a-50cb-11e9-ab2f-d3b06778e97c.html

“South Carolina businesses thrive when they are allowed to innovate.” So says The State newspaper in Columbia, as it supports the benefits of solar for the state’s industrial competitiveness. “Smart energy policy…is an economic winner.” https://www.thestate.com/opinion/op-ed/article227845344.html

solar jobs

2018 Solar Jobs Census

The National Solar Jobs Foundation covers the size and scope of the American solar workforce.  The rapid development of solar energy has created an astonishing number of well-paying American jobs.  As of 2018, there are approximately 242,343 solar workers in the United States, resulting in an overall growth of 159% since the first Census was released in 2010.  Although, in 2017, the rate of growth in the solar industry slowed, resulting in a solar employment decline of approximately 8,000 jobs. 

Solar employment had declined due to the Trump administration’s 30% tariff imposed on most imported solar modules at the beginning of 2018.  The hearing had caused uncertainty in the solar marketplace and utility-scale solar developers to delay their projects in 2017, resulting in an overall solar industry decline.  However, within the next year, solar jobs and installations are expected to return to an incline since installation equipment is now accessible and affordable for utility-scale developers.

Survey respondents predict a 7% solar job increase in 2019, due to incomplete utility-scale projects and new policy incentives in key states.  In 2018, solar jobs and markets have developed an increase in 29 states.  States with the highest solar workforce growth include Florida, Illinois, Texas, and New York.  The complete 2018 list of solar jobs by state can be found here.   

Approximately 87,000 (56%) of 155,000 solar jobs in the installation and project development sector are concentrated on the residential market segment.  About 46,000 jobs (30%) are focused in the non-residential segment, including roughly 12,500 jobs in community solar.  Furthermore, the utility-scale market is said to compromise 22,000 jobs (14%).  

The solar workforce demographics remained quite similar to the previous year.  In 2018, 26% of the workforce consisted of women; 17% consisted of Latino or Hispanic workers; 8% were made up of black or African American workers; and Asian workers made up 9%.  

In 2018, there was an 8% increase in the difficulty level of finding qualified candidates to hire, resulting in 26% of solar establishments reporting it to be “very difficult”.  Prior to 2018, in 2017, only 18% of solar establishments reported such challenges.   

Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation explains, “Despite two challenging years, the long-term outlook for this industry remains positive as even more Americans turn to low-cost solar energy and storage solutions to power their homes and businesses”.  She continues, “However, it will take exceptional leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to spur this growth and address the urgent challenge of climate change. Expanding solar energy and storage across America will create high-quality jobs, reduce carbon emissions, boost local economies, and build resilient and adaptive communities”.  Solar energy is expected to continue to be a leading job creator for America.  

 

3 Reasons To LOVE Renewable Energy This Valentine’s Day

Southern Current’s team of solar experts have a strong passion for clean energy and environmental sustainability. Who is your Valentine?  This year, we choose solar!  Below: 3 reasons to love renewable energy!

Renewable energy has no pollutants.

Clean energy from solar has no carbon emissions or pollutants.  Producing clean energy with solar helps reduce dirty power used from fossil fuel-based power generation.  Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas block infrared radiation from leaving the earth’s atmosphere, which inevitably traps radiation from the sun and warms the planet’s surface.  Furthermore, traditional biomass and geothermal power plants require a significant amount of water to facilitate their vital cooling requirements.  Solar energy creates zero pollution of water resources and does not strain local water supplies since the operation does not require water.  Unlike non-renewable sources of energy, the sun will never run out of energy.  The sun produces 173,000 terawatts of natural energy every second, which can create renewable energy for your home for up to 25-30 years.

Image Credi: maxpixel.com

Renewable energy is loved by solar customers.

In 2018, a new solar project was installed in the United States every 100 seconds.  Southern Current has successfully helped hundreds of families, like Connie’s, to lower their power bills.  Connie explained, “Southern Current showed us how our system would help with the environment and with our electric cost, they took our past electric bills to figure the size of system we needed, they walked us through the entire process of purchasing and setup as well as showing us how to keep up with the power we produce… Our system has been a saving grace to us”.  Another satisfied Southern Current customer, Bill, explained, “One neighbor who walks the neighborhood said our installation was the best looking of any she had seen. The real test is the savings on my power bill. Feb through Mar I have generated more power than I have used, meaning my bill is the minimum, $13.62 each month”.  Lee Murdaugh also explained his excitement for going solar with Southern Current, “My solar panels are currently putting out at about 120% of projection. I have currently produced 950 KW in 13 days.. my wife and I are both excited to see when the coming months Power bills go away… All systems go…. two thumbs up!”.  The love for solar power, clean energy, and decreased power bills is pretty hard to resist! 

Renewable energy can help reduce or eliminate power bills .

By reducing your carbon footprint, you are not only saving the earth, but also your money!  Whether it is for your business or your home, investing in solar can dramatically decrease and potentially eliminate your power bills.  Even if you do not produce 100% of the energy that you consume, your pocket will still greatly benefit from reduced utility bills, resulting in a lot of saved money.  The average American homeowner is able to pay off their solar panel system in about 7 to 8 years and receive a return on investment of about a 20% or more!

 

 

 

About Southern Current

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top solar installers in the Southeast, offering Residential, Commercial, and Utility-Scale Solar Solutions. Thanks to the numerous Solar Rebates & Incentives that are currently available, there’s never been a more affordable time to create your own energy! View the Southern Current Solar Panel Installation Portfolio to see projects we’ve completed in your area, or Contact Us to request information about a solar panel installation for your home or business and see how much you can save with solar.

 

 

net metering South Carolina

Solar Incentive Coming To An End In South Carolina

Changes are coming to residential solar in SC.

Two of South Carolina’s major utilities are changing the way clients benefit from the solar energy they produce on their home in 2019.  As of March 15th for Duke Energy customers, and when SCE&G clients hit their capacity cap, the terms of their offered rates for solar will no longer be as strong as they currently are.  System costs will remain the same and solar will still make sense for the long term, but, if no new net metering program is approved, the fall-back rate structures could add 6-8 more years to the payback period for the investment.  The current Net-metering that we all enjoy will be gone.

net metering South Carolina

Click to view nearby home solar panel installations in South Carolina!

So, What is Net-Metering?

Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use. On average, only 20-40% of a solar energy system’s output ever goes into the grid. Exported solar electricity serves nearby customers’ loads.”  Source: Solar Energy Industries Association.

The current South Carolina Net Metering program is a 1:1 credit. If a solar customer exports excess electricity back to the utility, the utility will compensate the customer at the same rate that the utilities charges them for electricity. For example, if a SCEG customer consumes 1 kwh of electricity, then SCEG will charge them $0.13.  If this same SCEG customer sends back 1 kwh of electricity to the grid, then SCEG will credit the customer $0.13.

When your usage is low, like a Wednesday afternoon when everyone is at work, surplus solar production is sold to the utility for the same price you pay for it, reducing your bill, and saving you money.  The utility can then instantly transfer this power to your neighbors to support their needs (selling it to them on the same power lines you are using!).

The image below represents net metering. It demonstrates when the sun is shining and the solar panels are producing more energy than being used in the home, the energy goes back to the grid. While at night, your home is pulling that excess energy back from the grid to light your home. 

net metering South Carolina

Image Credit: Energysage

 

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What is changing about the Net Metering policy in South Carolina?

Once the cap is hit for SCE&G and the date is hit for Duke, the tariffs (rates) in place will negatively impact solar clients.  The utility companies will cease giving a 1:1 ratio credit for the electricity produced and exported to the grid.  For instance from the above example were SCEG was compensating you a $0.13 credit for each kwh you sent to grid, they may only credit you $0.05 for that same kwh.  The utility will pay you less for a kW you produce than a kW they produce, even though they sell the one they get from you back to you or your neighbor for full retail.

SCE&G’s Program

SCE&G’s net metering program will end once their capacity cap is achieved. This cap can be hit at any time due to large commercial projects grabbing allocations of the program, but the expectation is currently March or shortly thereafter.

For net-metering applications approved prior to the capacity being reached, customers will be able to take advantage of the current net metering policy. This policy allows the customer to receive a 1:1 ratio for energy they sell back to the grid. They are grandfathered into the program until 2025.

The image below shows the capacity status of SCE&G’s net metering program as of 1/31/2019.

 

Image Credit: SCE&G

Duke’s Program

Duke Energy has already hit the cap they have set previously and then extended accepting applications out until March 15th.

Net-metering applications approved prior to March 15, 2019 will be able to take advantage of the current net metering arrangement. This arrangement ensures the customer will receive a credit at a 1:1 cost for each kW-hour exported to the grid. This also grandfathers them into the program until 2025.

Will my rates go up? How much?

Your rates will not change for power you use, but the price the utilities pay for the kWh of power you send back to the grid  could be cut in half. If the utility charges you $0.13kwh for power, why should they not PAY you a $0.13kwh for power? Especially if they are able to sell the power they just bought from you BACK to you or your neighbor for full retail.

Can I install a solar system after this date?

Yes!  You can still install a solar system after this date.  System costs and performance are not impacted. 

Why Go Solar Today?

  • Net Metering Policy is changing – utilities will give you less than a 1:1 ratio for energy you create
  • Federal Tax Credits are changing- tax credits will remain at 30% until the end of 2019, they drop to 26% in 2020, and to 22% in 2021.
  • State Tax Credits are NOT changing – we have one of the best tax credits in the country.

Sign Up To Receive A Free Cost Estimate!

 

net metering South Carolina

You can make a difference; contact your Legislator!

Solar net metering programs are due to expire in mid-March in the Upstate and in mid-2019 for most other areas of the state, eliminating the ability of customers to reduce their energy bills by going solar.  

Legislation is pending at the Statehouse. It will:

  • Remove the net metering cap and solar leasing caps and allow ratepayers freedom to choose their own energy source
  • Ensure fair compensation for what solar users generate and use by calculating the net energy used over the course of a month
  • Prevent non-solar customers from paying for revenue lost by a utility because of solar.
  • Prohibit utilities from setting discriminatory rates specifically for solar customers.

It’s time to take action!

Free-market competition in the energy sector will lower bills, create jobs, and increase energy independence. In the first 100 days of 2019, South Carolina lawmakers have the opportunity to create a better energy future for all South Carolinians by taking clear and decisive action on clean energy competition.

Contact your legislators today and ask them to strengthen your energy choices, support the Energy Freedom Act, and lower your power bill.

 

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Learn More About Southern Current

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top Solar Installers in the Southeast, with specialties 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!

solar project bamberg

Launching New Solar Project in Bamberg County

Southern Current Launching New Solar Project in Bamberg County

 

Bamberg, SC– Southern Current, a leading developer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale solar markets, is launching a new solar farm in Bamberg County. The company is investing $8.4 million in the project.

According to Paul Fleury, Chief Development Office for Southern Current, “When communities invite renewable energy providers to partner with them, it’s a win-win for everyone. This $8.4 million investment in Bamberg County will bring so much more than 6MW of power; it will power growth and sustainability for years to come.”

Regional and local leaders also expressed the importance of the company’s solar project in the area.

“Bamberg County and SouthernCarolina Alliance welcome the investment by Southern Current, and we work together as a team to create a pro-business environment for companies to invest in our area,” said Bamberg County Council Chairman Clint Carter.  “We support cutting edge technology and alternative energy projects like solar, as well as the traditional manufacturing and agribusiness projects, which are the backbone of our community.”

SouthernCarolina Alliance Chairman Marty Sauls added, “We welcome solar energy projects that will benefit our residential and industrial communities, and we look forward to working with Southern Current in the years to come.”

The solar project will be developed just off Heritage Highway near Denmark, South Carolina.

Southern Current is an owner and developer of utility-scale solar energy facilities across the southeastern United States. With an in-house team of development professionals, the company manages projects from site selection and origination through construction and operation.

 

For more information on SouthernCarolina Alliance and Bamberg County, visit the website:  www.SouthernCarolina.org.