South Carolina’s Santee Cooper utility celebrated the start of spring with its approval of what will be South Carolina’s first community solar project at the same time as it renewed rebates for rooftop solar projects. Both programs begin on April 1.
It’s a positive move for a state that hasn’t been known for its solar power prowess. Still, South Carolina has been making strides in solar power, like approving net-metering in 2014 and creating solarize programs.The changes come at a time when many states are debating reducing their rebates or incentive packages like net-metering. However South Carolina’s public utilities commission ordered on March 20 that utilities will offer net-metering at the full retail rate through Ja 1, 2021.
Santee Cooper is taking quick action by announcing its plans. The new rebate amount for rooftop solar is $1.30 per watt up to 4 kilowatts. That means a 4-kilowatt solar panel system will qualify for a $5,200 rebate, according to the utility. In addition, “solar customers will be charged a monthly standby fee to ensure they are covering their portion of fixed costs to provide them electricity, so that those fixed costs are not shifted to other customers,” the utility said. “They will also receive an energy credit of about 3.8 cents per kWh for any excess solar power produced that is put back on the grid.” The first 500 residential rooftop customers to sign up will also receive an additional 3-cent per kWh credit for excess electricity through 2018.
Homeowners and companies can buy into the community Solar Share project—part of the Collation Solar Farm—for $1.88 per watt. That’s offset by a $1 per watt rebate. So those who buy into the project will pay $880 per kilowatt of panels purchased and they can purchase up to 4 kilowatts of the array. “Subscriptions will be available through 2018 or until 1 MW is subscribed, with purchase price and rebate amount evaluated each year as the solar panels age,” the utility said. Subscribers will be credited for their share of the power produced by the array on a monthly basis.
"Santee Cooper has been the state's leader in solar power for a decade, and we are pleased to open yet another chapter with South Carolina's first community solar program," said Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper president and CEO. "On April 1, our rooftop and community solar programs and related incentives will bring the benefits of solar power to all of our customers, whether they own a roof or not."Tweet