People are getting interested in solar. They are interested in producing their own energy, reducing the energy bill, and taking another step in reclaiming self-sustainability. According to a 2015 article in Fortune, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) reported, “[m]ore solar panels were installed on U.S. home rooftops in the first quarter of [the] year than ever before.” Previously, solar growth was in the form of large “solar farms” but the growth is shifting towards individual homeowners.
South Carolina’s public utility has made it exceptionally difficult for residential ratepayers to reduce the use of energy from the publicly owned utility. Private companies throughout the state, like Duke Energy and South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCG&E), are working to increase their solar capacity from “5.4 megawatts (MW) to 195 MW by 2021.” Santee Cooper has “adopted an Interim Distributed Generation Rider, ‘DG-15,’ (August 14).” DG-15 hinders efforts by residents to produce their own clean energy.
Santee Cooper plans to extend this effort with DG-16, which will “increase solar charges even further.” According to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, “Santee Cooper plans to enact an additional monthly charge of $9, a monthly standby charge of $4.70 – $5.00 per kilowatt of solar installed, and reduce credits to solar customers for power they contribute to the grid.”