If construction goes according to schedule, South Carolina’s largest solar power facility could be feeding electricity into the state’s power grid by end of the year.
Construction on the 20-acre solar generating farm in rural Colleton County—a joint effort between South Carolina’s 20 electric cooperatives and Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility—began in October. Plans call for the plant to be finished by Dec. 31. When fully operational, the facility could be capable of generating up to three megawatts of electricity while providing valuable real-world data on the true potential of solar power in the Palmetto State.
The plant will be operated by Liberty Sun Energy, part of InterTech Group based in North Charleston. Santee Cooper will buy the farm’s solar power, working with Central Electric Power Cooperative and the state’s electric cooperatives to distribute it to homes and businesses. Cooperatives view the farm as an opportunity to learn how to more fully and cost effectively integrate solar power into the generation mix that serves their members.
“This project is a real-world, full-scale learning tool,” said Central Electric Power CEO Ron Calcaterra. “The question co-ops want to answer is how we can design a consumer-friendly product that makes solar power available to our members in a reliable, affordable and economically sustainable way.”