With the goal of making solar energy more accessible for all its members, Palmetto Electric Cooperative dedicated the area’s first community solar farm adjacent to its New River office in Hardeeville at a March 31 event. The cooperative committed to two farms, one located at the Ridgeland office and the other at the New River office. Construction began in December 2016 and was completed in March of 2017. Each site is a 120kW solar array and already producing electricity.
“This is the right project at the right time for Palmetto Electric,” says Berl Davis, president and CEO of Palmetto Electric. “Community solar is a great option for many of our members. It’s affordable. It’s safe. And it’s hassle free.”
Community or “shared” solar, means multiple people get electricity from a large solar array, offering a convenient option for consumers who want a part of their monthly power to come from the carbon-free resource.
Palmetto Electric began selling shares, last December, of the solar farm’s generating capacity on a first come, first served basis. Pricing includes a $75 nonrefundable enrollment charge and a monthly fee of $13 per share. Subscribing members will receive a monthly credit of 10 cents per kWh for their share of the solar energy production. The 240 shares sold out in four days.
“With this business model, the co-op takes care of the hard parts – the construction, maintenance, and upkeep – and members who want the benefits of solar power can have it,” added Davis. “And they get those benefits without the upfront cost, worries or headaches that come with installing a system of their own.”