- South Carolina, which has no significant renewable power program, is making one for itself. But reports about it will have to forego use of the war vocabulary that characterizes renewables negotiations elsewhere – apparently, there are no battle lines.
- Instead, lawmakers, green energy advocates and utilities speak of collaborating on provisions of a solar power package they all can live with. The bill would allow solar leasing companies to sell rooftop solar systems and the electricity from them.
- The state Senate hopes to act on the bill by May 1 so it can get House examination and passage before the legislative session ends June 5. After marathon drafting meetings, the compromise measure is being passed around now for perusal.
- But no one is saying that it has been a simple negotiation. Utilities in South Carolina have the same concerns utilities elsewhere have been raising alarms about, among them the worry that net metering rates for rooftop solar are too high. Green power advocates argue that paltry incentives will stifle development, so details of the legislation matter a great deal.
This degree of apparently collegial collaboration is far from the norm. What also appears unusual is the goal of writing a bill that will last, instead of one that everyone expects to overhaul next year. There may need to be tweaks, but the goal is to make something that will stand for years. Some suggested that the reason South Carolina is buckling down to do this is due to the worry that it has fallen behind on the green power front, which makes it look behind the times and could also hurt its ability to draw businesses that care about such things.