South Carolina snags another utility-scale solar farm


Don’t look now, North Carolina, but your southern cousin is giving the impression she wants to compete with your burgeoning solar industry and isn’t afraid to let you know it.

Aiken County, South Carolina – not to be outdone by neighboring Orangeburg County (which announced 155 MW of new solar farms in January) – will be home to ESA Renewables’ latest project – a solar farm that is projected to bring at least $11 million in capital investment to the county.

Though the capacity of the farm wasn’t disclosed, it is expected to produce 23,100 MWh annually, which ESA says is enough to power 2,400 single-family homes per year. The farm will be built on 88 acres in Beech Island, S.C., with construction starting in the first quarter of next year. ESA says the project will officially come on line by the third quarter of 2018.

“We are pleased to have worked closely with Aiken County and various members of South Carolina’s renewable energy sector on the proposed utility-scale solar project,” said Lindsay Herold, ESA Renewables CEO. “This collaboration presents a promising opportunity for South Carolina, and we are proud to be part of the joint efforts to move

“We are excited that ESA Renewables is investing in Aiken County,” said Gary Stooksbury, Aiken County’s economic development partnership chairman. “Renewable energy provides both positive environmental and economic benefits to communities.”

By all accounts, 2017 might be the year solar solidifies its place in South Carolina’s economy. In January, Orangeburg County announced it would be home to 155 MW of solar development.

Then the industry received an unexpected boost when the National Solar Jobs Census announced that the state had added 1,000 jobs last year – which earned the industry a congratulatory statement from the Palmetto Conservative Solar Coalition (PCSC).

Finally, three weeks ago, a bill (S. 44) that would allow residential solar owners to receive an 80% property-tax abatement following the installation of a qualifying solar installation of up to 20 kW passed the Senate and is under consideration by the House of Representatives.

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