On Friday, Berkeley Electric Cooperative hosted a community solar dedication ceremony for a new facility at the cooperative’s Strawberry Station. The ceremony was for the Moncks Corner site, which is part of a two-stage project. According to Berkeley Electric, the second location is panned for Awenda, SC. Upon completion of both projects, 200 blocks will be available for consumers to lease.
Based on the energy generated by the solar array, five blocks of the total project is the equivalent of 16 panels. Per the regulations set forth by Berkely, customers can only subscribe to a maximum of five blocks. By leasing, they’ll benefit from clean, renewable solar energy. Their subscription to the program also allows them to participate in reducing the carbon emissions of South Carolina. All of this can be done without private solar panels, thanks to the technology of community solar.
The community solar dedication ceremony was the start of the project’s long-term goals. According to Berkeley’s marketing and energy services manager, Eddie Powden, leasing a block is hassle-free and allows homeowners to circumnavigate HOA regulations that prevent private panels.
When residents and small business owners subscribe to the program, they are entitled to a monthly credit on their utility bills. This credit is based on the number of blocks they are leasing and comes directly off their monthly statement. As each block only costs $10 for an eight-year lease and the lessee will reap the credit in the value of solar produced over 15 years.
At the time of the community solar dedication ceremony, Berkeley had already signed on 46 members, which accounts for every available block on each program. Additional to the dedication ceremony, Berkeley’s Strawberry Substation site received a pair of Tesla batteries that can store approximately four hours of solar PV production. The batteries’ purpose is to disperse stored energy during peak hours to reduce the demand costs of all subscribers.