Santee Cooper’s Emphasis on Solar Energy

Susan Jackson

Friday, June 26th, 2020

Santee Cooper’s new emphasis on solar energy is an economic reality thanks to technological improvements in the solar industry. Solar power has made a 180 degree turn when it comes to price and availability. Only a few years ago, it was touted as a renewable resource with a hefty price tag. Plus, solar had the disadvantage of limited availability (thanks to Mister Sun not always shining) coupled with the inability to store power for later use. It is now a cost-competitive source of power and available with improved battery storage. 

Battery storage allows solar power that was collected during the day to be available in the evening at the peak demand time, which is usually around 5 to 8 p.m. when the sun is setting. Both batteries and solar panels are much cheaper. Over the last decade, the prices for storage and solar panels have fallen 87 and 88%, respectively, and are expected to decline further.

Solar plus storage (solar+) is already more cost-effective than new gas generation in the sunniest parts of the nation. It is one of the fastest growing resources for renewable power and for jobs creation in the United States. In fact, as of 2019, three states now have over 15% of their generation from solar with California approaching 20%.

In 2018, South Carolina’s renewable energy resources – which are mainly hydro, biomass, and solar energy – accounted for about six percent of South Carolina's electricity net generation. This is well under the top solar states, but you can expect to see that percentage increase dramatically over the next decade.

Santee Cooper is proposing to add 1,500 MW of new solar power to its generation mix. That’s an 800% increase and enough to power approximately 750,000 homes. It’s also more solar than is currently installed in the entire state. Solar is poised to be a major player in the power generation markets and Santee Cooper is planning to be a part of that.

For more information about how to power your home or business through solar energy, visit our site today.  Santee Cooper also offers a Solar Share program if you currently live where traditional solar panels cannot be installed.