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SC Senate Passage of Energy Freedom Act Big Step Forward, SEIA Urges Swift Final Approval

Wednesday, May 08 2019

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Press Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. and WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the solar industry commended the South Carolina Senate for passing a landmark energy bill, The Energy Freedom Act, on a bipartisan vote, and urged the House to quickly approve the measure and send it to Gov. McMaster for his signature.

Following is a statement on the bill’s passage from Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association:

“After a unanimous vote in the South Carolina House, we are glad to see that the Senate also approved this critical legislation, which will lower electricity bills and create jobs across The Palmetto State. That the bill passed with strong bipartisan support is a testament to the hard work of our many partners and allies in the state, and clean energy champions in the Legislature.

“We urge the House to quickly offer final approval of the bill, and for swift action from Governor McMaster so clean energy can resume its growth in the Palmetto State.”

If enacted, this legislation would:

  • Require the Public Service Commission to initiate a new proceeding to review and approve rates and terms provided to large-scale solar facilities, ensuring contract terms are reasonable for such projects;
  • allow large energy consumers, such as industrial manufacturers, to negotiate directly with a renewable energy supplier to more easily realize savings from solar;
  • eliminate the net metering caps and extend the existing residential solar rates for two years until the Public Service Commission determines a successor program;
  • provide for more transparency and competition in long-term utility generation planning; and
  • give the Public Service Commission the authority to establish a new neighborhood community solar program with the opportunity to expand solar access to low-income customers.

South Carolina installed more than 400 megawatts of new solar electric generating capacity in 2017, but saw slower growth in 2018 with less than 150 megawatts installed. This legislation is critical to restarting that growth, lowering electricity bills and creating new jobs across the state.

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About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2019, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry, which now employs more than 242,000 Americans. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to build jobs and diversity, champion the use of cost-competitive solar in America, remove market barriers and educate the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

Media Contact:

Morgan Lyons, SEIA's Senior Communications Manager, mlyons@seia.org (202) 556-2872

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