South Carolina county lands 155 MW of solar projects

It’s been a whirlwind six days for Orangeburg County, S.C., which has suddenly become the center of the state’s solar universe. In the space of six days, the county has landed $173.6 million in investment by two solar nationally known developers

The Orangeburg (S.C.) Times and Democrat reported yesterday that Tradewind Energy, a Kansas-based solar developer, has pledged to build a 75-MW project called The Palmetto Plains Solar project in the county near the city of Bowman. According to the paper, the investment will total $84.5 million.

Six days ago, North Carolina-based NARENCO announced it was going to build two solar farms that together will produce 80 MW of energy. Combined, the two projects will have the capacity to power 35,000 homes.

Construction on the Tradewind project will begin in the first quarter of 2018, while the NARENCO projects are expected to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2018.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, South Carolina only installed 4 MW of solar capacity in 2015 and has 65 MW of total installed solar. The same report says developers invested $10 million in the state in 2015, the last year for which statistics are completely available.

So in the space of six days, Orangeburg County has garnered commitments that could total 20 times the total capacity installed through 2015 and have landed investments that could potentially increase eight times the amount of money invested in the state two years ago.