SCANA utility planning 100 MW of new solar energy in South Carolina

SCANA (NYSE:SCG) utility South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) is seeking South Carolina Public Service Commission approval to add 100 MW of new solar energy to the grid by the end of 2020.

The centerpiece of the plan involves adding 45 MW of utility-scale solar power at targeted locations across the SCE&G service territory, the company said Feb. 10.

Two of those projects include the Otarre and Leeds solar farms, which will be SCE&G’s first solar farms, located in Cayce and North Charleston.

Two Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) regulated subsidiaries have also proposed several solar power programs to the South Carolina PSC. The Duke proposal includes a planned request for proposals (RFP) later this year for 50 MW of utility-scale solar energy.

SCE&G’s proposed Renewable Generation programs will add approximately 100 MW of new solar energy to SCE&G’s system by the end of 2020. The proposal is in keeping with the Distributed Energy Resource Act that was signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley (R) in 2014.

“SCE&G remains committed to expanding the use of renewable energy resources, and our proposed Renewable Generation programs provide customers with innovative new options to access solar,” said John Raftery, general manager of renewable products and services and energy demand management for SCE&G. “With construction beginning soon on our first two solar farms the future is looking very bright.”

SCE&G’s proposed programs include customer-scale solar, community solar and utility-scale solar:

** Customer-scale solar:  The utility proposes production-based incentive rates for residential, non-residential and tax-exempt customers electing to install solar generation. These incentive-based rates will be determined by system size and provide price certainty over a 10-year period.

** Community solar: SCE&G has proposed offering customers, including municipalities and tax-exempt organizations, such as schools and churches, will have the opportunity to buy into a solar unit and receive prorated, incentivized production credits based on the facility’s monthly system output.

** Utility-scale solar: An announcement is expected soon about the developers selected for the Otarre and Leeds solar projects, with completion anticipated by fall 2015.

More details about the programs will be available upon final review and approval by the PSC.

In late 2013, SCE&G announced a new renewable energy team and began working together with solar stakeholders from across the state, including conservation groups and other utilities, to develop comprehensive consensus legislation that establishes equitable net metering rules, introduces distributed energy programs and allows customers greater access to solar leasing.

In June 2014, the landmark Distributed Energy Resource Program Act was signed into law.

The state-owned Santee Cooper utility began operation of the 3-MW Colleton solar project in late 2013.

Until the recent past, there had been little utility-scale solar development in the Southeast outside of Georgia and North Carolina but that’s been changing.

In Virginia, Dominion (NYSE:D) has announced plans for 400-MW of large-scale solar projects by 2020.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.