Myrtle Beach’s First Utility-Scale Solar Farm

Myrtle Beach’s First Utility-Scale Solar Farm

Myrtle Beach’s First Utility-Scale Solar Farm

Construction at the Runway Solar Farm is wrapping up, with just a few punch list items until completion. The solar modules were placed in service on Dec. 9 and are providing electricity to customers through Santee Cooper’s distribution lines.

The 2 MW ac solar farm is located at 2630 S. Kings Highway inside the city limits of Myrtle Beach and can produce enough electricity to supply 305 average South Carolina households. The city made sure the site was attractively landscaped to enhance the bike path. Check out the city’s map of trails to see how easy it is to bike there.

Working with Horry County and the Myrtle Beach International Airport, an area owned by the airport was identified as a potential site. In general, airports have extensive unusable property that could be used for solar farms. Santee Cooper leases the site, providing income for a property that otherwise only costs them for regular mowing, and is using it to grow our renewable footprint for customers.

The airport had restrictions on this lot from the U.S. Air Force, which used some areas as a landfill. Special engineering studies were done to ensure that there was no glint or glare from the panels which might affect pilots in the air or the control tower nearby. EDF Renewables, the contractor for the project, designed concrete ballasts that hold the panels in place for the coastal wind code speeds (132MPH).

After five years of development and over two years of constructing Runway Solar Farm, the Sun Fun City is truly energized by the sun now. Special thanks to Santee Cooper’s many customers who purchase Green Power, making projects like these possible.

Author Elizabeth Kress

Elizabeth Kress

Elizabeth “Liz” Kress is a senior engineer with Santee Cooper, working in the Renewable Energy department. She acts as a developer of biomass and solar projects. Liz has been instrumental in increasing Santee Cooper’s renewable generation, and has also been involved in the feasibility work on offshore wind for South Carolina.

She graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., with a Bachelor of Science degree in metallurgy and materials engineering, and has a master’s degree in business from the University of South Carolina.