- SolarCity has ended its operations in South Carolina and will not take any new orders, though it will complete its backlog of projects. Company officials say the move is related to the decision to eliminate its door-to-door sales techniques and employees.
- SolarCity's time in the Palmetto State was short-lived: it launched residential solar service in the state in October of last year.
- New solar policies enacted in 2014 has helped the market grow, according to Charleston's Post and Courier. Permits for solar installations in the state's Lowcountry region jumped from about 100 in 2015 to 1,400 last year. That growth was led by four national installation companies operating in the state: Vivint Solar, Sunrun, Vision Solar and Suncrest Solar.
The residential solar market in South Carolina is growing rapidly, but the Charleston's Post and Courier reported last week that SolarCity will not play a role.
"As a result of the elimination of our door-to-door sales channel, which we announced in April, we are closing our SolarCity office in Charleston," a spokesperson told the newspaper by email. But the company left open the possibility of return, saying "We look forward to resuming our physical presence in South Carolina in the future."
SolarCity was acquired by Tesla last year, and Greentech Media posits that the deal may have muddled the company's entry into South Carolina, and ultimately heralded its departure. The decision to end door-to-door sales of solar systems was made this spring after the deal was completed.
Three years ago, South Carolina passed Act 236, finalizing net metering and including a NEM settlement that raised the size limit of eligible systems from 100 kW to 1 MW and raised the cap on NEM systems from 0.2% of each utility’s peak capacity to 2%. Installed solar capacity in the state is expected to rise from less than 100 MW to more than 1,500 MW over the next five years, and could hit those caps sooner rather than later.