Search Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper Launches Community and Rooftop Solar Programs

solar energy rebates
Panels at Colleton Solar Farm


On March 21, the Santee Cooper Board of Directors approved South Carolina’s first community solar project and new solar energy rebates for its community and rooftop solar programs. All programs launched April 1, and are designed to help customers invest in solar power and cut their electric bills over the life of the program.

Solar Share, the first community solar project available for subscription in South Carolina, offers Santee Cooper customers the opportunity to purchase the output from a share of the Colleton Solar Farm and receive a rebate for subscriptions of up to 4 kilowatts. Customers will receive a credit on their monthly Santee Cooper electric bill reflecting their share of solar energy produced each month at the solar farm, which is owned and operated by TIG Sun Energy and provides solar power under contract to Santee Cooper.

The purchase price for 2016 is $1.88 per watt, offset by a $1 per watt rebate, for a net cost to customers of $880 for a 1-kW subscription. Subscriptions are available through 2018 or until 1 MW is subscribed, with purchase price and rebate amount evaluated each year as the solar panels age.

Solar Share addresses inherent limitations to rooftop solar. Because customers are purchasing output from a shared solar farm, Solar Share expands benefits of solar power ownership to apartment and condominium renters and owners, people who live in subdivisions with covenants that prohibit rooftop solar panels, and to people whose roofs are not properly angled or are shaded.

“Santee Cooper has been the state’s leader in solar power for a decade, and we are pleased to open yet another chapter with South Carolina’s first community solar program,” said Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper president and CEO.        

“Our rooftop and community solar programs and related incentives bring the benefits of solar power to all of our customers, whether they own a roof or not.”

The Santee Cooper board also increased solar energy rebates for customers who install solar panels on their own roofs and set the April 1 launch  for Santee Cooper Solar Home and Santee Cooper Solar Business. Under these residential and commercial rooftop solar programs, Santee Cooper will rebate $1.30 per watt, up to 4 kW. That rebate totals $5,200 for a 4-kW system.

Community and rooftop solar customers will be charged a monthly standby fee to ensure they are covering their portion of fixed costs to provide them electricity, so that those fixed costs are not shifted to other customers. They will also receive an energy credit of about 3.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for any excess solar power produced that is put back on the grid. The first 500 residential rooftop customers to sign up will receive an additional 3-cents per kWh credit for excess electricity through 2018, which is also the term for which rebates will be available.

Santee Cooper anticipates the solar panels customers install will last for 20 years, and the residential and commercial rooftop incentives are designed to help customers recover their purchase costs in about 12 ½ years, depending on installed capacity, energy use and other variables. The Colleton Solar Farm is already two years old, and so the Solar Share investments made in 2016 will be for 18 years, with incentives designed so that customers could recover their purchase costs in about 10 years, depending on subscription size, energy use and other variables.

For more information on Santee Cooper Solar Share, visit www.santeecoopersolar.com.