S.C. utility backs program to help customers install solar

Dive Brief:

  • South Carolina Electric & Gas is supporting a "Solarize" initiative in the state aimed at helping provide cleaner energy as mandated by a distributed resources measure passed last year, EnergyWire reports.
  • Solarize South Carolina is a partnership between national non-profit SmartPower​, Dividend Solar, which offers loans to customers to install systems, and the state's leading rooftop PV installers. Solarize programs in other communities have typically cut solar system cost by about 25%, and the South Carolina program will provide financing with no upfront cost.
  • The first program in the state is now available to residents of the Charleston area, and will be introduced across the state in the coming weeks.

Dive Insight:

Solarize South Carolina launched last week in a fairly limited coastal area, but backers of the program say it will be expanding soon. The initiative will allow homeowners to go solar with no money down and no out of pocket expenses, said the program's manager.

“Communities across the nation are Solarizing at a record pace,” said SmartPower’s Lauren Ellison Fox, Community Outreach Manager for Solarize Charleston. “As a lifelong local resident, it’s incredibly exciting that the Lowcountry is now the first area in South Carolina to bring this award-winning program here.  

SCE&G said it supports the program as a way for the state to build momentum behind renewable energy, which will help offset utility costs, create jobs and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The utility told EnergyWire it is committed to reducing its coal-fired generation and giving its customers more clean energy sources.

“The work that is being done by Solarize South Carolina will give SCE&G customers another clean energy option and help to advance solar across the state as intended by the Distributed Energy Resource Program Act that was signed into law last year,” said Danny Kassis, SCE&G vice president of customer relations and renewables.

Kassis said the utility is already leading the country in reducing coal-fired generation in favor of clean energy. "Our support and investment in solar is also an important part of this effort to create a balanced energy portfolio that will serve our customers for the future," he said.

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