Santee Cooper Board approves solar incentive package

Santee Cooper customers interested in purchasing or leasing rooftop solar panels or buying into a community solar program will benefit under a comprehensive incentive package approved Oct. 16 by the Santee Cooper Board of Directors.

Santee Cooper, legally known as the South Carolina Public Service Authority, is the state-owned power company.

The incentive package, outlined in a news release, focuses on three areas:

•Rebates: Up-front rebates of 65 cents per watt to help residential and commercial customers who want to purchase panels for their homes or businesses or buy into a Santee Cooper community solar project, subject to an annual cap on total rebate dollars extended.

•Energy Credit: An additional energy credit of 3 cents/kWh of the excess electricity that residential rooftop solar customers generate and provide to Santee Cooper. The credit is in addition to the nearly 4 cents/kWh credit already included in a Distributed Generation Rider approved by the board in August, and limited to the first 500 residential customers who sign up.

•Community Solar: Establishing Santee Cooper’s first community solar project by letting customers subscribe to its 3-MW Colleton Solar Farm in Colleton County – South Carolina’s largest solar project. Community solar extends similar access and benefits as rooftop solar to customers who cannot install panels on their own rooftops. Santee Cooper plans to use Santee Cooper Green Power funds to seed future community solar projects once the Colleton project is fully subscribed.

The board action authorizes Santee Cooper management to finalize terms and conditions for the program, which is expected to be available to customers by early 2016. The incentive package is approved for three years and is subject to expansion depending on customer response.

“Santee Cooper was the first utility in South Carolina to put solar power on the grid, back in 2006, and our Green Power program has grown significantly through voluntary customer support since its 2001 debut,” said Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter.

Santee Cooper is also a minority owner in the V.C. Summer nuclear station, including the two new nuclear units now under construction. SCANA (NYSE:SCG) utility South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) is the majority owner.

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.