Important Solar Legislation On Hold With State Lawmakers

South Carolina solar industry members are holding their breath. An important piece of legislation has been introduced to state lawmakers that, when approved, will open the floodgates on construction of renewable power plants and billions of dollars in additional tax revenues for counties all across the state.

Tax Reform Bill Would Benefit Everyone In South Carolina

Sun-rich states all over the U.S. have realized the economic potential that solar energy brings with it, and have aggressively pursued the opportunity to harness this resource. For example, in 2008 the North Carolina legislature enacted a renewable energy property tax exemption. In less than seven years, North Carolina went from a state with solar power being nearly nonexistent to ranking second for solar energy capacity. North Carolina has been called the “South’s leader in solar power.” To our southwest, Georgia is making significant strides as well, landing just outside the top five nationally in solar capacity.

In 2015, a paltry $10 million went towards investment in solar installations in South Carolina, compared to $311 million in Georgia and a whopping $1.69 billion in North Carolina.

But South Carolina lawmakers have the power to change this state of affairs. The Renewable Energy Jobs and Economic Development Bill (S. 44/H.3079) would allow unused or agricultural land to be turned into utility scale solar farms and similarly exempt the value of renewable energy resource property for residential use. The South Carolina Senate has already passed the bill, but action needs to be taken in the House to allow our state to unleash the potential for solar investment that can come to South Carolina.

Estimates indicate that within three years of the bill becoming law, more than 90 solar projects could be installed across the Palmetto State, over $1 Billion dollars of investment.

A higher tax base means more revenue for counties all across our state. The open fields where solar farms are built currently pay about $50 a year in property taxes, while in the first year alone an average solar farm would generate $35,000 that could go towards our schools, roads and local services in the community.

Solar investments will also bring quality jobs to South Carolina. A recent report on the solar industry in North Carolina identified a “value chain” spanning over 450 companies which arose as a result of similar legislation. Taken together, this chain employs over 4,500 people. With over 1,000 solar jobs added in South Carolina in 2016, imagine what our state could do with a solar-friendly framework!

South Carolina’s lawmakers have before them an opportunity that will truly revolutionize the way South Carolina does business. By putting the state’s solar industry on equal regulatory and tax footing as our neighbors, the Renewable Energy Jobs and Economic Development Bill will create thousands of solar industry jobs, generate revenues for local communities, and attract new investments, and convince business to set up shop and expand existing business in South Carolina.

While there may be many legislative items vying for the attention of the South Carolina House, this is one that cannot and should not be ignored. Solar energy technology has been improving steadily, and the time is now for South Carolina to harness that opportunity.

Speak Up For More Solar In South Carolina

Speak up if you want MORE SOLAR in South Carolina! Tell your representatives to support S.44 TODAY! Click the link below, type in your address, and contact your legislators to let them know you support S.44/H.3079 and want MORE SOLAR!

Contact Your South Carolina Legislator

Report: Solar Industry Employment Grew By 25% In 2016

The Solar Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization that exists to increase understanding of solar energy through market research. The folks at the Foundation release an annual report which tracks employment trends of the solar industry, and their latest report looking at 2016 was just released.

Great News! Solar Industry Employment Showed STRONG Growth In 2016!

The latest report found that 260,077 solar workers were employed by the industry in 2016, increasing by 51,000 workers from 2015, or 25% growth!

  • Other findings from the latest solar jobs report:
    • 1 in 50 new US jobs were in the solar industry in 2016!
    • Solar industry employment has nearly tripled since 2010!
    • Over the next 12 months, employers surveyed expect to see employment increase by 10% to 286,335 solar workers!
    • More people are employed by the solar industry than the number of workers at Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook combined!
    • Solar employment growth accounted for over 16% of all electric power generation and fuels employment growth over the course of 2016.
    • Furthermore, solar employment growth was larger than employment growth in oil, natural gas, and coal combined!
    • There are more than double the amount of employees in the solar industry than in the coal industry, and just as many as in the natural gas industry!

Video: Solar Jobs Census 2016

Southern Current Expects To Hire New Solar Workers In 2017

If you have a passion for making the world better and are interested in joining the top solar installer in South Carolina, we encourage you to Contact Us to be added to our notifications lists for future job openings!

Invest In A Clean Energy Future & American Jobs

As you can see from above, an investment in a solar power system at your home or business has a number of benefits. Going solar means you’ll help your wallet (save money on energy costs), help the environment (by using green energy), and support over 260,000 hardworking Americans employed by this INCREDIBLE clean energy sector!

Primed For Savings: How Amazon Is Going Big With Solar And Wind Power

We’ve previously reported about the huge amounts of renewable power being used by large corporations across America, including AppleWalmart, and Target, and today we’d like to turn the attention to pledges made by a prominent online retailer and cloud computing company: Amazon.

Founded in 1994 as an online bookstore, Amazon has grown tremendously to become the largest Internet-based retailer in the world. Unfortunately, so too have their energy appetite and electricity bills, so Amazon is making some BIG energy moves to save even BIGGER amounts of money!

Here’s What Amazon Can Teach You About Solar Power

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of the parent company, Amazon Inc., and is primarily involved in the business side of things related to “the cloud,” like data storage and content delivery (think processing power to deliver all of those Amazon Kindle downloads, etc.).

According to the AWS website, the company has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure footprint, including a goal of being powered by 50% renewable energy by the end of 2017.

As of April 2015, the latest data available from their website, approximately 25% of the power consumed by the AWS global infrastructure comes from renewable energy sources. Current and future renewable energy projects include:

Amazon Wind Farms – US Central

Expected to launch in May 2017, the Amazon Wind Farm US Central-1 is a 100 megawatt wind farm under construction in Paulding County, Ohio. Once completed, it will be large enough to power the equivalent of over 29,000 US homes in a year.

Amazon Wind Farm US Central-2 is a 189 megawatt wind farm in Hardin County, Ohio that will have the capacity to generate as much energy used by 53,000 US homes in a year.

Amazon Wind Farm – US East

Amazon Wind Farm US East is a 208 megawatt wind farm. When completed, it will be the first utility-scale wind farm in the state of North Carolina and will produce the equivalent energy used by more than 61,000 US homes in a year.

Amazon Wind Farm – Fowler Ridge

Amazon Wind Farm Fowler Ridge is a 150 megawatt wind farm in Benton County, Indiana with the capacity to generate as much energy used by 46,000 US homes in a year.

Amazon Solar Farm – US East

Amazon currently uses an 80 megawatt solar farm that operates in Accomack County, Virginia. Comprised across roughly 1,000 acres, Amazon’s US East Solar Farm can generate approximately 170,000 megawatt hours of solar power annually, or enough to power 15,000 US homes in a year.

In November 2016, Amazon announced it would develop five additional solar farms with a total capacity of 120 megawatts. The new projects include four 20 MW solar farms and a 100 MW facility, all to be located in Virginia.

These new solar farms are expected to start generating by the end of 2017, with the capacity for over 400,000 megawatt hours of solar power annually, the equivalent to power over 36,000 US homes in a year.

The Takeaway On Amazon’s Commitment To Clean Energy

In total, these ten renewable energy projects will deliver approximately 2.6 million megawatt hours (MWh) of energy annually. 1 megawatt hour is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh).

*Assuming a retail rate of $0.10/kWh, Amazon’s wind and solar installations have the ability to produce $260 million dollars* worth of electricity each year!

When they reach their 100% renewables goal in future years to come, they will be saving over half a BILLION dollars* on energy costs, and doing so in a manner that produces ZERO carbon emissions!

Decrease Costs, Increase Profits

While it may seem extraordinary that Amazon is going to such measures, remember that they, like many other businesses, are motivated to cut costs in attempt to increase profits.

Since their products are largely digital (there is no physical shipment or transfer of a book when you purchase a digital download for your Kindle), they have very little ability to find a cheaper substitute.

But when it comes to operational costs, specifically energy, they have a tremendous opportunity for savings by producing their own energy and/or procuring it from solar panels and wind turbines.

Learn How To Save Money With Solar Power In South Carolina

Whether you’re interested in lowering home energy costs with a solar install on your roof, or increasing profits like Amazon by producing the power required for your commercial organization, Southern Current has a solar solution that can help you save money!

Costs have dropped dramatically over recent years — Down more than 45% since 2012 according to the Solar Energy Industries Association — which means now more than ever is a great time to consider going solar on your home or business!

Contact Southern Current for a free solar consultation and learn more about saving money with a solar power investment! And if you’re a land owner, read about making money with a Solar Farm.

Santee Cooper’s Solar Rebate Program Pays YOU To Install Solar Panels In South Carolina

Santee Cooper is paying South Carolina home and business owners to install solar panels. In fact, Santee Cooper’s updated 2017 solar rebate program, combined with state and federal tax credits for solar installations worth up to 55%, gives South Carolina residents access to one of the best deals in the nation for going solar!

Santee Cooper’s $9,600 Dollar Solar Rebate Program

South Carolina residents in the Santee Cooper service territory can receive up to $9,600 dollars worth of rebates toward the cost of installing solar panels on a home or business! Under their updated Customer Solar Programs, a rebate of $1.60 per watt-AC is available for residential customers in South Carolina who install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on their homes. The maximum residential solar installation eligible is a 6 kW system, or a $9,600 dollar solar rebate!

Santee Cooper Businesses Customers Are Eligible For A  Solar Rebate, Too

The rebate is also available for qualified business customers who install systems on their property. This means a small commercial solar installation of 6 kW would be eligible for a rebate of $9,600 dollars as well.

“With good feedback from our customers, we’ve made the programs even better. These new incentives cut in half, approximately, the time it takes the solar investment to pay for itself.” – Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter

Thanks to the Santee Cooper solar rebate and other incredible solar incentives available in South Carolina, you may be able to go solar and pay less for power than you currently pay each month! That is, the cost of your new power bill + the monthly solar finance cost could be less than your current power bill! It’s a no-brainer! 

In addition to the Santee Cooper incentive, a 30% federal tax credit and a 25% South Carolina state tax credit are both available. It’s no wonder South Carolina is a hot bed for solar panel installations!

Want more information?

Speak with a Southern Current solar representative for details. Click here to request a free consultation about going solar in South Carolina to learn how much lower your power bill could be. Don’t wait! The Santee Cooper solar rebate is available on a limited basis and will run out!

Get Paid For Going Solar In South Carolina With SCE&G Net Metering

Are you interested in installing solar panels on your South Carolina home? Do you get your electricity from SCE&G? You’re in luck if so, because SCE&G’s Net Metering offer PAYS YOU when you go solar at home!

SCE&G’s Solar Power Net Metering Offer

Local homeowners have access to one of the best solar programs in the state! Under SCE&G’s Solar Power Net Metering Program homeowners can receive FULL RETAIL RATE for all of the energy that is produced by a solar panel system. The process is called “net metering” and allows homeowners who produce their own power from renewable sources to be fairly compensated, including a credit that can be rolled over to the next month

  • Here’s how it works:
    • For every kWh generated, you offset your current month’s energy usage.
    • Any excess energy is carried forward to the next billing period to offset future usage.
    • Solar credits are given at the same cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for which you are currently charged.
    • Example 1: An average usage of 800 kWh per month, at a cost of $0.139 per kWh. Average electricity bill $111.20
    • If you produce 401 kWh with solar, you would only be charged for 399 kWh, at a cost of $0.139 per kWh. Example 1 electricity bill $55.46.
    • Example 2: If you produce 801 kWh with solar, you would not be charged for power. You would have a credit of 1 kWh or $0.139 which would carry forward to the next month’s bill.

Locations eligible for the SCE&G Solar Net Metering Program

SCE&G’s electric territory covers the metropolitan Charleston area and beyond including the largest cities of Columbia, Aiken, and Beaufort. The map below shows locations within the SCE&G service area eligible for the solar offer (tan color):


Additional Solar Incentives Available In South Carolina

In addition to the SCE&G Solar Power Net Metering Offer, individuals who go solar have the opportunity to take advantage of some remarkable federal and state incentives which decrease the overall cost of installing a solar power system.

30% Federal Solar Tax Credit

The US federal government offers a tax credit to both home and business owners who install solar power. A tax credit worth 30% of the total system cost and installation is available. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year.

25% South Carolina Tax Credit

The state of South Carolina offers an additional tax credit for home and business owners who go solar. The South Carolina solar tax credit is worth 25% of the total cost including installation. The maximum incentive for the SC state tax credit is $3,500, or 50% of taxpayer’s tax liability for that taxable year, whichever is less. This credit has no expiration date and any excess credit may be carried forward up to 10 years.

There’s never been a better time to lower your energy costs with a solar panel installation on your property! Click here to request a free consultation about going solar in South Carolina to learn how much lower your power bill could be.

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