Press Release | May 28, 2014

South Carolina Solar Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk for Signature Into Law

Charleston, SC –The South Carolina General Assembly passed a compromise solar bill today that could lay the groundwork for South Carolina to capitalize on the Palmetto State’s significant solar power.

The Southern Environmental Law Center and Coastal Conservation League were among a diverse group including utilities, lawmakers, and solar industry advocates who weighed in on the compromise legislation. The bill opens the way for residents to lease solar panels without paying high up-front installation costs, enables utilities to get hundreds of megawatts of power from the sun, and includes special programs to bring solar to schools, churches, and other non-profits.   

“South Carolinians want the freedom to generate cheap, clean sun power at their homes, churches, businesses, and schools,” said Hamilton Davis, Energy and Climate Director at CCL. “This law can clear the path for us to catch up with other states and strengthen our power grid with more distributed generation.”

The bill will also increase access to “net metering,” a policy that gives South Carolinians fair credit on their utility bills for the solar power they deliver to the grid. As a first step, the bill requires the S.C. Public Service Commission to hold a proceeding to evaluate the rates set for “net metered” solar. This proceeding will assess the net benefits of solar power, such as its ability to reduce the need for utilities to build expensive traditional power plants and transmission infrastructure.

“This bill recognizes the strong public support for local solar power for energy independence, and once it goes into effect, all eyes will be on the S.C. Public Service Commission to see if the bill’s promise is delivered,” said Blan Holman, in SELC’s Charleston office. “We will continue to work with other solar advocates to ensure that South Carolinians have access to affordable solar power, and that those who choose to invest in solar are treated fairly in light of the myriad benefits they provide to our communities.”

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Southern Environmental Law Center:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC's team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. www.SouthernEnvironment.org

Coastal Conservation League:

Since 1989, the Coastal Conservation League has been working with communities, businesses, other conservation and citizen groups to protect what we love about the South Carolina coast. From the white sand beaches and pristine marshes to the freshwater swamps and pine savannahs, we focus on the most efficient and effective ways to protect natural habitats, the wildlife that depends on them and the variety of benefits they bring to this state. We also believe that the communities we live in, the air we breathe and the water we depend upon are important and that our quality of life deserves the same high level of attention. To learn more, go to www.scccl.org.