There’s a new top dog in South Carolina solar


The throne of the largest utility-scale solar project in South Carolina has been handed over with the completion of the Palmetto Plains Solar Facility in Orangeburg County.

Cypress Creek Renewables served as developer as well as providing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the 106 MWdc facility, and Dominion Energy has signed up to purchase the generated power. The installation features First Solar’s legacy Series 4 modules mounted on single-axis tracking.

Palmetto Plains represents more than 1/8th of the state’s entire installed solar capacity prior to its completion and is helping the state to inch closer and closer to the 1 GW installed benchmark. What’s more is that Cypress Creek is not stepping down in South Carolina, nor Orangeburg County. The company recently began construction on another 100 MWdc project in the county, the Huntley solar project.

Also in Orangeburg County, Pine Gate Renewables has announced the start of construction on a massive 101 MW solar project. Pine Gate is building the 850,000-module, one square mile Bowman project through its in-house engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) team, and expects to reach commercial operation in the first quarter of 2020.

The state sat at 831 installed MW, up to 937 MW with Palmetto Plains, which is good for 16th in the country, though South Carolina has been lagging behind in 2019, as the state was 12th in the nation in 2018. When Huntley goes online, South Carolina will officially be playing the gigawatt game. Happy day, happy day.

Another barrier that Palmetto Plains is breaking is the 1% barrier. Currently 0.96% of all electrical demand in South Carolina is met by solar generation, well below the national average of 2.3-2.4% as of 2018. That 0.96% is enough to power around 96,000 homes. Palmetto Plains is set to add enough generation capacity to provide power to 15,000 homes, bringing the total to 111,000 homes and 1.11% of the state’s entire electrical needs.

And as these two projects prove, the state wouldn’t be as close to this goal without Cypress Creek. Palmetto Plains is the 22nd solar plant that the company has built in South Carolina, for a total of 375 MW. As for previously mentioned Pine Gate, the company has developed 13 projects across South Carolina, though it is not clear how much of the company’s 400 MW in developed capacity is in South Carolina. Going back to Cypress Creek, the company’s job does not stop when the plants are interconnected, as it will be supplying operations and maintenance (O&M) services for both the Palmetto Plains and Huntley solar plants.

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