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Solar Energy’s Time to Shine in South Carolina | Solar Energy USA Blog Archive

Solar Energy’s Time to Shine in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, April 19th, 2013 at 2:39 pm by Solar Energy USA

“It’s not a secret that the utilities have an incredible amount of influence up here” at the State House, said Hamilton Davis, an energy analyst with the S.C. Coastal Conservation League. “They’re probably the most powerful special interest.


In 2012, South Carolina’s major power companies and electric cooperatives association collectively spent more than $800,000 lobbying the Legislature, according to the S.C. Ethics Commission.

A recent bill was brought before the SC Legislature which would make it possible for South Carolina homeowners to have solar panels installed more easily and more affordably. For the second time this year, legislators deferred voting on the measure — even though most speakers at a hearing Wednesday agreed the solar bill would help lower energy costs for churches, schools and homeowners.

A recent report from The Solar Foundation – The 2012 National Solar Jobs Census – found that the U.S. solar industry currently employs 119,016 Americans. This figure represents the addition of 13,872 new solar workers and a 13.2 percent employment growth rate over the past 12 months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the overall economy grew at a rate of 2.3 percent during the same period, signifying that 1 in 230 jobs created nationally over the last year were created in the solar industry. But much of this impressive employment growth is taking place outside of South Carolina, likely due to unfavorable solar climate in the state.

Another report, State Solar Jobs, sheds more light on the solar situation in South Carolina. There are only 36 solar companies in South Carolina and just 320 total solar jobs. Because of this SC ranks 44th in solar jobs per capita, while the state ranks 17th in terms of maximum solar resource, or amount of sunlight. South Carolina also lags in net metering and interconnection policies – earning an F in each category. South Carolina also lacks a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) which is a regulation that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal.


By comparison, New Jersey ranks 36th in terms of maximum solar resource (they have less annual sunlight than does South Carolina), yet there are 426 solar companies employing some 5,700 solar workers in the state. Because of this NJ ranks 3rd in solar jobs per capita. New Jersey earns an A in net metering policies and a B in interconnection policies, supported by an RPS target of 20.38% of the state’s total energy to be derived by renewable energy sources like solar by 2021.


A recent Gallup poll found that over three-quarters of Americans, including homeowners in South Carolina, want the U.S. to put more emphasis on producing domestic energy using solar power. We think it’s solar energy’s time to shine in South Carolina! If you’d like more solar in the state of South Carolina, including jobs, solar panels, and solar power plants, contact your representatives and let them know!

Interested in a solar panel installation for your South Carolina home? Request a free in-home consultation from Solar Energy USA of Greenville, SC today!