New Community Solar Option May Come to South Carolina Town

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After requests were made to the Georgetown County Planning Commission, a new community solar option is under consideration for the town of Andrews, SC. The planning commission received a request for a new solar farm to be constructed in the Georgetown County Commerce Center just outside of town. Located alongside U.S. Highway 521, the parcel is estimated at 4.94 acres. If built, the farm is expected to serve as a practical and educational purpose, as schools will utilize it as an informational tool.

During a meeting on July 16, commissioners of Georgetown County approved the request. However, the solar farm, which has been under consideration since 2017, will still need to have three readings before the county council. The land is currently owned by Central Electric Power (CEP), and the solar farm will be operated under Santee Electric Cooperative (SEC). Since these actions were already taken, the planning director, Boyd Johnson, foresees no issues from the council.

Upon completion, the new community solar option will benefit customers of SEC. For a $50 upfront fee, they will be able to subscribe to the farm and receive credits related to the amount of energy produced. Johnson confirmed that schools will be open to schools that wish to bring students to tour solar panels and community solar operation. 

If the solar farm receives final approval, it will be the first in Georgetown County. The next closest farm is the Bell Bay Solar Farm, which consists of just under 6,000 panels built across 10 acres. The Bell Bay farm generates 2,827 megawatts each year and is considerably larger than the proposed location in Andrews. 

Jay Kirby, vice president of public affairs at SEC, spoke on the project and stated there is no estimated time for completion. This is partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kirby did reaffirm the benefits of community solar, saying that it allows homeowners to enjoy solar energy without having to build expensive panels. 

Though there is more to be done before construction can begin, SEC has already started taking bids for the Andrews project.


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