The South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCPA) announced plans Friday to install solar power panels on the Wando Welch and Columbus Street terminals in Charleston, making the ports authority the largest rooftop solar host in the state.
Two solar panel arrays generating 3.7 total megawatts of electricity will be installed on warehouse rooftops at the two terminals by the summer. The panels will provide a significant off-set to the Port’s energy usage, returning power to the grid during peak hours of energy demand and resulting in a direct reduction to SCPA’s power costs.
“The solar project is an exciting step that deepens the Port’s ongoing efforts to be an environmental leader in our industry,” SCPA Board Chair Pat McKinney said in a statement. “The Board fully supports our staff’s recommendation of a rooftop lease agreement, which allows us to focus on our core business of running a port while still achieving both environmental and financial benefits.”
“The Port has a responsibility to operate in a matter that is both mindful of the environment and good for business,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA President and CEO. “The panels will be a highly visible reflection of our sustainability program, and we look forward to the overall positive environmental and economic benefits they will provide.”
Under a 25-year rooftop lease agreement, the panels will be owned and maintained by SolBright Renewable Energy, LLC with no direct expense to SCPA. The panels are expected generate $1.5 million or more in profit for the SCPA over the life of the lease.