In a partnership between Santee Cooper, Palmetto Electric, and Technical College of the Lowcountry in Bluffton, a 20-kilowatt solar array was dedicated to the college’s campus. Santee Cooper spokeswoman Mollie Gore says the demonstration project is the largest solar installation in the Lowcountry.
“The project was financed or funded through our green-power sales. We have green-power generation across the state with our landfill generating stations, primarily. Our customers and the customers of the state’s electric cooperatives, including Palmetto Electric, have the option to pay a little extra in their bill each month to support green-power generation, and all that money is reinvested in new renewable generation,” says Gore.
Nine solar canopies generate about three kilowatts each, totally around 20 kilowatts.
“Sort of picture a standing structure with a roof, a one-angle roof. The roof holds a solar panel. Each canopy has a bench, so it forms a great little gathering area for the students as well,” says Gore.
Gore says although the amount of power generated may not be an abundance of utility power, the project still serves multiple purposes.
“Twenty kilowatts is not a huge amount when you’re talking about utility generation, but it’s a good chunk of power that we’re putting out there. It’s a demonstration project primarily. It does have the added benefit of putting more power out there on the grid. It will help us all learn a little bit more about how we can make better use of the sun’s rays,” says Gore.
Palmetto Electric Cooperative is a non-profit electrical distribution utility that is owned by the members it serves.