Sunday, August 10, 2014

South Carolina Breaks Down Barriers to Solar Power

The South Carolina Sierra Club supported the legislation in 2014, which incorporates distributed energy resource programs, net metering and third-party solar leasing in the state.  Photo: Sierra Club lobbyist, Benton Wislinski and Sierra Club solar organizer, Samantha Siegel, join Governor Nikki Haley (center) in celebration of the bill's passage.

COLUMBIA, SC  (PR) – On August 6, 2014, Governor Nikki Haley was joined by Senator Greg Gregory and representatives from the electric cooperatives, utilities, and environmental organizations for a ceremonial signing of S.1189, the S.C. Distributed Energy Resource Program Act. A collaborative effort between lawmakers and stakeholders in the energy industry, S.1189 allows South Carolinians more affordable access to solar energy for residential and business purposes.

“Breaking down barriers that prevent South Carolinians from having options is something we have been focused on from the start of our administration – it’s an important part of making the quality of life in our state the best it can be,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “We’re celebrating today because this law breaks down barriers to solar energy access, making it easier for individuals and businesses to take advantage of the projects and opportunities that can cut costs and make energy usage more efficient.”

Under the new law, citizens will be able to take advantage of solar energy by leasing solar panels for their homes or businesses rather than paying for the relatively expensive installation involved with purchasing their own. Additionally, the bill ensures that those who generate solar electricity receive a fairer price from utilities for the energy they sell back to the power grid.

“Debate on this bill began with utility industry officials and proponents of solar energy in a standoff,” said Sen. Gregory. “Over the course of the two-year session, though, they came together and worked tirelessly to construct a law that gives each side some of what they wanted, and all South Carolinians an opportunity for greater energy independence through expanded use of solar energy.”

“I think it is wonderful that Governor Haley will recognize this landmark legislation and the job creation it brings,” said Grant Reeves, Senior Vice President, The InterTech Group. “In fact with over $525 million of direct investment in solar energy projects over the next six years, Governor Haley continues to demonstrate her leadership on job creation and policies that make the Palmetto State stand out.”

“This legislation is the result of a collaborative effort of South Carolinians to ‘prepare in mind’ to best manage our ‘resources’ for the future,” said Keller Kissam, President of Retail Operations, SCE&G.


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