Why solar power rarely shines in SC

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The attitude of utilities and bureaucratic red tape are among many factors

The State

Making electricity from the sun always appealed to Bruce Monson, an Air Force veteran who lives on a rolling farmstead southeast of Columbia.  But when Monson looked to install solar panels on his property, he learned it would cost $22,000. Then he discovered an electric cooperative wanted to charge him $50 a month to connect the panels to a power line.

“It should be easier to do than this,” said Monson, who eventually took out a loan to pay the cost. “This was a struggle, absolutely a struggle.”
Monson’s difficulties highlight why South Carolina is one of the least friendly states in the country for solar power. Complicated laws, resistance from power companies, poor tax incentives and an emphasis on nuclear energy have kept solar from becoming much of a player in South Carolina – despite an abundance of sunshine, according to records reviewed by The State newspaper and interviews with those who track solar issues.


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