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Hello, Sunshine!


April 06, 2016   By Nicole Aiello in Green Energy

Living in a neighborhood with strict HOA covenants meant I couldn’t even consider the benefits of rooftop solar energy. Many of you are probably in the same boat because you live in a condo, rent, don’t have enough sun on your roof or, frankly, don’t want to worry about maintenance and upkeep.

Santee Cooper residential and commercial customers can now get the benefits of solar power through Solar Share, South Carolina’s first community solar project launched by Santee Cooper on April 1, without having to install panels on their roofs.

I think that’s pretty exciting. Our President and CEO Lonnie Carter thinks it’s exciting news, too. On April 4, The Sun News in Myrtle Beach printed a letter to the editor from Carter. In the letter, he explains:

“Community solar projects are taking the country by storm. They can be cheaper than rooftop programs for customers – Santee Cooper’s is – because constructing the larger farms provides economies of scale. Community solar projects also can perform better than rooftop, because the panels can be installed for optimum output and aren’t restricted by roof angle."

Yes, you read that right. Community solar can perform better than rooftop. And maintenance and upkeep are included in the subscription price.

“Depending on the solar panels’ output and a customer’s energy consumption and habits, a Solar Share subscription will provide monthly savings off your Santee Cooper electric bill. There is an upfront purchase price, which comes to $880 per kilowatt after our rebate (up to 4kW). Some months, like December when the days are shorter, customers may not see much impact on their bills. Other months, again depending on customer habits and solar output, customers could see a savings of 20 percent or better.”

 

Twenty percent is impressive. But how does it work? Santee Cooper Solar Share solar allows you to subscribe to output from the Colleton Solar Farm and use energy first from the solar panels of the solar farm before using energy from Santee Cooper. Basically, that means the energy you use from the solar farm offsets what you would be using from Santee Cooper – and that offset shows as a credit on your bill.

An 18-year Solar Share subscription is designed to pay for itself in about 10 years. (Keep in mind, the payback depends on how you use energy.) You’d then enjoy solar power with that subscription already paid for over the remaining eight years.

If you prefer rooftop solar on your home or business, no problem! Santee Cooper also has rebates and incentives now available for rooftop solar, too. The rooftop programs, Solar Home and Solar Business, make assumptions about installation costs and are designed for a 12½-year payoff, with new solar panels expected to generate power for at least 20 years. That equals around seven and a half years of “free” solar energy. And for Solar Home, Santee Cooper even offers low-interest financing for well-qualified residential customers.

I’m sure you have more questions, and we’ve got a lot more information on Solar Share, Solar Home and Solar Business. Just visit www.santeecoopersolar.com to get started!