News and Announcements

The Energy Freedom Act Passed! What does this mean for you?

This month, the South Carolina General Assembly unanimously voted in favor of the Energy Freedom Act. Last week, Governor McMaster signed the bill into law. This is very exciting news for the solar industry! This law allows for the continuation of fair policy and for people to have the solar that they produce whether they use it in their home or export it to the grid. This means that solar will be priced fairly for ALL, not just the consumer.

So how does it impact our solar customers?

For existing clients, it solidifies the timeline for the expiration of net metering as a rate schedule for those who have already committed to solar through at least 2025.

For new clients, it allows them to participate in the existing net metering policies that make solar fair and attractive to residential and business clients across South Carolina.

This also means important news for solar industry jobs. Without the passage of the Energy Freedom Act and the change to the return on investment for solar, all the companies that have been investing in building solar companies in South Carolina would have faced a dramatically new market. A market in which power generated from solar was not treated fairly and, therefore, was a more challenging proposition to residential clients. Many people who are making their career in solar in a variety of skill sets may have lost their jobs.

What was it NOT going to do?

As a result of this policy, the price of solar was not going to change dramatically and solar would not have become more expensive, but the homeowner’s return on investment would have been negative. Without the Energy Freedom Act, it would have taken many more years for solar owners to recoup their investment in clean energy, even though the cost of the installation would have been the same.

In some other parts of the country, the “value of solar” is actually considered to be higher. In these other areas, any electricity exported to the grid can potentially receive a premium because some of those utilities view solar as an asset on their gird. This means less service upgrades and less facility upgrades. It also means that there is no need to build out sub-stations or to produce as much power during peak hours because the utility companies know there is a base supply of solar in the market that can lower the demand they would otherwise have to produce.

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What the Energy Freedom Act has done is allow clients of Southern Current DG and the utilities to purchase solar with the same fair and reasonable rate structures you already have, letting more people enjoy the benefits of solar.

In the long term, it offers more people the ability to advocate for solar from the position of owners of systems. The next time there is a legislative or policy issue the #SoCuSolarArmy can be a larger and more diverse voice for solar advocacy!

Ready go to solar, get a FREE consultation! 

Governor McMaster signed the Energy Freedom Act into Law!

Standing behind Governor McMaster is Southern Current’s VP of Policy, Bret Sowers, and Director of Policy, Steffanie Dohn.

Excerpt from “S.C. Governor Signs Energy Freedom Act: A Major Boon For Solar

By Betsy Lillian of Solar Industry Mag:

On Thursday night, Gov. Henry McMaster, R-S.C., signed into law The Energy Freedom Act, which is expected to bring myriad benefits to the solar industry.

As previously explained by the Solar Energy Industries Association, the bill, H.B.3659, includes the following provisions for solar:

  • Requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to initiate a new proceeding to review and approve rates and terms provided to large-scale solar facilities, ensuring contract terms are reasonable for such projects;
  • Allows large energy consumers, such as industrial manufacturers, to negotiate directly with a renewable energy supplier to more easily realize savings from solar;
  • Eliminates net metering caps and extends the existing residential solar rates for two years until the PSC determines a successor program;
  • Provides for more transparency and competition in long-term utility generation planning; and
  • Gives the PSC the authority to establish a new neighborhood community solar program, with the opportunity to expand solar access to low-income customers.

Governor McMaster and Jason Epstein, CEO of Southern Current DG, LLC, shake hands after the signing.



“On behalf of the entire team at Southern Current, I’d like to thank Governor McMaster, Senator Davis, all those that voted unanimously in the House and the Senate to guarantee a fair and level playing field for solar in the great state of South Carolina; and the hundreds that worked behind the scenes to make it happen.”  – Jason Epstein, CEO of Southern Current DG

Look out for more news later this week regarding how this bill affects current and new solar customers.

Solar power surge: $340 million investment seen as key to development in Darlington County

DARLINGTON, S.C. — Darlington County officials said last year’s announcement that a solar energy company would invest $340 million to build 17 solar farms in the county shows that Darlington County means business.

Southern Current, a leading developer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale solar markets, announced it would expand its solar farm portfolio with facilities throughout the county.

Southern Current is an owner and developer of utility-scale solar energy facilities across the southeastern United States.

Darlington County economic development director Frank Willis said at the time that the announcement sends a powerful message about Darlington County as a place for industry to do business.

“We’re excited,” Willis said.

He said the investment will be the largest single investment in solar energy facilities in any county in South Carolina.

Willis said the new facilities will be a significant factor in attracting new industry to Darlington County.

“One key component to recruiting industry is when they look at an area, they want to know what the cost of power is,” he said. “What this says, with 17 sites and $340 million, that’s a lot of access to energy in Darlington County, and it’s all over the county. It’s not just in one part of the county.”

“Southern Current is proud to make Darlington County home to many of our projects,” said Southern Current chief development officer Paul Fleury. “We’re excited to roll out these major clean energy infrastructure investments over the next three to five years, which will produce substantial tax revenues to the county for decades to come. This wouldn’t be possible without the strong support of the county, partnerships with the economic development team and all of our vendors that help to make this possible.”

Darlington County Council Chairman Bobby Hudson welcomed the announcement.

“Southern Current’s substantial investment in solar power in Darlington County is consistent with our commitment to environmentally-clean growth,” Hudson said. “We are confident this will be a mutually-beneficial partnership for the company and our community.”

https://www.scnow.com/news/progress/article_2ff2e804-6d02-11e9-9fb0-77d912824559.html