The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is commending the South Carolina Senate for passing a landmark energy bill, The Energy Freedom Act, on a bipartisan vote.
If enacted, this legislation would do as follows, according to SEIA:
- Require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to initiate a new proceeding to review and approve rates and terms provided to large-scale solar facilities, ensuring contract terms are reasonable for such projects;
- Allow large energy consumers, such as industrial manufacturers, to negotiate directly with a renewable energy supplier to more easily realize savings from solar;
- Eliminate net metering caps and extend the existing residential solar rates for two years until the PSC determines a successor program;
- Provide for more transparency and competition in long-term utility generation planning; and
- Give the PSC the authority to establish a new neighborhood community solar program, with the opportunity to expand solar access to low-income customers.
SEIA urges the House to quickly approve the measure and send it to Gov. Henry McMaster, R-S.C., for his signature. The House iniitally approved the legislation in February, but it has since been amended.
“After a unanimous vote in the South Carolina House, we are glad to see that the Senate also approved this critical legislation, which will lower electricity bills and create jobs across The Palmetto State,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “That the bill passed with strong bipartisan support is a testament to the hard work of our many partners and allies in the state and clean energy champions in the legislature.”
SEIA says South Carolina installed more than 400 MW of new solar electric generating capacity in 2017 but saw slower growth in 2018, with under 150 MW installed.