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Santee Cooper’s Utility-Scale Solar Projects Moving Forward


May 09, 2018   By Elizabeth Kress in Energy Matters

Bell Bay Solar’s 2 megawatt array is Santee Cooper’s latest investment in renewable energy.

The Colleton Solar Farm near Walterboro is in its fifth year of production, supplying enough solar for about 300 average households in South Carolina.

In addition to supplying electricity, this project supplied information and data that was used by industry and collegiate groups to develop an understanding of how solar acts in conjunction with power supply and power needs. The project included both fixed panels and single-axis tracking panels, so that data and comparisons were available for both.

On March 1 of this year, another utility-scale project called Bell Bay Solar was completed. It’s located in Horry County, at 6950 U.S. Highway 701 South near Conway. This 2-megawatt, direct-current project was oriented to face southwest. This orientation change shifts the solar generation to peak a little later in the afternoon, so that the tourist-induced summertime electric loads served by Santee Cooper along the nearby Grand Strand are met more effectively.

Two more utility-scale solar farms are currently in development. The first, the Runway Solar Farm, will be a project on Myrtle Beach International Airport property and visible along the U.S. Highway 17 Business. This will be on unusable property. But soon, it will provide an income to Horry County instead of the recurring cost of mowing and maintaining the site. Because of Federal Aviation Administration rules and property restrictions, the completion date is projected to be mid-2019. 

The other project will be the Jamison Solar Farm, named after the nearby community. It will be along Interstate 26 near Orangeburg and the U.S. Highway 601 interchange. It is being developed in cooperation with Tri-County Electric Cooperative and the other electric co-ops in South Carolina. It will be located on an industrial site being developed by Tri-County Electric Cooperative

All three of these most recent projects are partly funded by Santee Cooper’s voluntary Green Power program. The Green Power funds have already provided 28 solar installations at schools statewide, as well as larger projects at six other colleges or educational facilities.

Check back here for more information, and consider buying Green Power from Santee Cooper to support these worthwhile programs.