South Carolina Should Prepare For The Rise Of Solar Power

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A draft report by South Carolina’s Energy Advisory Council (EAC) says that the state should work toward a grid that will be significantly more dynamic and versatile than today’s system, not relying on single power producers. Currently, North Carolina is one of the least solar friendly states in the nation. The final report is intended to provide regulators and legislators with the information they need to understand the issues and know what’s at stake.

South Carolina currently has some of the most restrictive solar laws in the nation on its use, including restricting third-party leasing of solar panels. An annual report by Freeing the Grid, which assesses solar energy policies in the states, rated South Carolina last as far as the ease with which people can install solar power panels on their homes or businesses, an article on Herald Online stated. This is in stark contrast with North Carolina, which has become one of the leaders in solar energy production through its favorable laws.

South Carolinians will get a chance today to weigh in on possible changes in utility regulations that change this, according to an article on The Post and CourierSouth Carolina’s Energy Advisory Council (EAC) wants input from the public on a draft report about distributed generation, which is expected to be mostly solar energy. The final report is intended to provide regulators and legislators with the information they need to understand the issues and know what’s at stake.

The draft report notes that the price of solar panels is decreasing rapidly, and therefore South Carolina should work toward a grid that doesn’t rely solely on single producers. The report says the state’s future grid should be “a different system that will be significantly more dynamic and versatile than today’s system.”

According to the report, state policy makers and utilities have little choice but to recognize that this shift is occurring. They “must likewise evolve to reflect a more technologically advanced and flexible environment,” the report says. “It will be best to ride the crest of the distributed generation wave in a proactive rather than reactive way.”

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) is working with the Coastal Conservation League to push the state to pass more favorable solar laws. The center said in a statement that southeast states are far behind the nation’s leading solar states, and that South Carolina is the second-lowest-performing state in the region. 

Blan Holman, managing attorney for the Charleston office of the SELC, commented: “Solar power is generating huge interest in South Carolina, and the Energy Advisory Council’s final report will shed important light on this very hot topic” 

“Sun power can be an economic engine for South Carolina if we remove the roadblocks that have kept us behind,” Holman added 

Many state legislators say they are waiting for the final report before making up their minds about changing laws in favor of solar power in the state. According to The Post and Courier, the legislature is expected to address the issues during its session next year.