A coalition of solar industry groups, conservation organizations, and clean energy advocates have crafted a 100 Day Clean Energy Agenda, calling on state lawmakers to pass a suite of policies in the first 100 Days of 2019 that will inject competition into South Carolina’s energy sector.
The campaign will include over 750,000 contacts across key legislative districts in every region of the state in order to stress the need for legislative action by April 10 – the 100th day of 2019.
“South Carolina cannot afford to wait any longer for clear and decisive action on clean energy,” said Representative Peter McCoy, one of the House’s strongest clean energy supporters. “Over 3,000 well-paying South Carolina solar jobs and billions in private investment rely on addressing the near-term threats to solar growth.”
The groups stressed the urgency to act – stating that millions of dollars of private investment for large scale solar projects lack the certainty needed to bring them to completion. Solar net metering programs are due to expire in mid-March in the Upstate and in mid-2019 for most other areas of the state, eliminating the ability of customers to reduce their energy bills by going solar, and putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
The 100 Day Clean Energy Agenda includes the following policies:
- eliminating the net metering cap for residential solar;
- ensuring fair and transparent rates for both residential and large-scale solar;
- allowing businesses to contract directly with independent clean power providers;
- ensuring fair and timely contracts for large-scale solar providers; and
- making solar available and accessible to all South Carolinians, regardless of income.
“Utility monopolies have written South Carolina’s energy policy for too long,” said Senator Tom Davis, a stalwart champion of free-market competition in the energy sector. “It is time to break the utility stranglehold and allow energy competition in the residential and corporate sectors while allowing large-scale solar providers to compete to put low-cost energy on the grid. More competition means lower costs, which means lower bills. It just makes sense.”
The integrated campaign includes a collective 750,000 direct mail, digital, and door-to-door contacts to educate South Carolinians on the bill-reducing benefits of solar, the number of jobs created by the solar industry, the benefits of competition in the energy market, and the need for quick legislative action.
Groups supporting the 100 Day Clean Energy Agenda include Conservation Voters of South Carolina, the Solar Energy Industries Association, Coastal Conservation League, SC Solar Business Alliance, Southern Environmental Law Center, Southern Current, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sunrun, Vote Solar, EDP Renewables, Upstate Forever, The Alliance for Solar Choice, Audubon South Carolina and National Audubon Society, Palmetto Clean Tech, the SC Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Cypress Creek Renewables. More groups are anticipated to join the effort as the campaign gets underway.
— Solar Builder magazine