Largest SC solar power plant sets up shop in Orangeburg County

The 106 megawatt facility is expected to power 15,000 homes in the county

BOWMAN, S.C. (WOLO) —The largest solar farm in South Carolina is powered up and operating in rural Orangeburg County.

As the sun shines down over Orangeburg County, some say you just need to look up to see what could spark the county’s economy for years to come.

“It’s a new industry, it’s very much a growing industry. I see South Carolina and this area of Orangeburg County really pioneering solar installations, so I think this is only the start,” said Oliver Alexander of Cubico Sustainable Investments.

The 106 megawatt facility could power up to 15,000 homes in Orangeburg County. With more solar farms coming to Bowman, some say this could mean good news for the county’s economy.

“It will provide better opportunities, better jobs, and we hope to retain a lot of our young people to stay here and take on these jobs,” said Johnnie Wright Sr., the Chairman of the Orangeburg County Council.

More opportunities in solar energy have emerged due to the Energy Freedom Act (EFA), which enabled several solar companies to set up shop in South Carolina.

The EFA, which was signed into law in May 2019, opens market access to independent power producers, which would benefit ratepayers with lower energy costs.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says there are now 86 solar companies in South Carolina, and energy prices as a result of solar energy being implemented have fallen 32% over the last five years.

“With that, we have a lot of new business moving in, a lot of new people moving in, so what we to make sure is that we’re preserving our natural resources so this solar facility right here, this solar farm, this really adds to that,” said Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette (R-South Carolina).

With two more solar farms set to be built in Bowman in the near future, some say the sun is set to shine brightly on the rural community.

“We intend to become the largest, solar capital not just in South Carolina. We’ll satisfy ourselves right now with the Southeast, but we are growing and intend to keep growing,” said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg County).

The power from the Palmetto Plains Solar Facility will go to Dominion Energy. 

Solar farms in South Carolina have the energy capacity to power up to 100,000 homes across the state. 

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