South Carolina has some of the most regressive laws in the country regarding the use of solar energy. But despite that, SolBright Renewable Energy in Charleston has become one of the state’s fastest growing companies by providing solar energy solutions for commercial buildings.
Indeed, it was recognized as the fastest growing company based on its income and employee growth in the three-year period from 2010-2012.
A state government that is selling itself as a business-friendly place out to get jobs, jobs, jobs would do well to note SolBright’s regional success and look for ways to make the state more friendly to green energy businesses.
Ohio, for example, has a goal to diversify its energy sources to 12.5 percent renewable sources by 2025. The industry has brought jobs and economic development to that state as well as improved air quality and savings for consumers.
According to its website, SolBright’s “ability to deliver solutions in an economically rewarding fashion will support the adoption and proliferation of this readily available energy resource.”
The green energy industry’s effect on economies, like many industries’, isn’t predictable. The fluctuating cost of gas and oil has a direct impact on its business growth. The practicality of government funding of alternative energy has its limits.
Yet economic giant China must have some confidence in it. In 2012 the world’s most populous nation invested $67 billion in renewable energy, driven by a jump in solar investment.
SolBright has proven that green energy businesses can make good sense economically.
But it is important to remember that they also make sense environmentally. Using free, abundant sunlight to supplement energy produced by fossil fuels should be an easy choice — even for South Carolina’s lawmakers.
So far, those lawmakers haven’t been willing to allow solar companies to lease home-power panels, apparently because of the objections of utility companies.
Those are the same legislators who never tire of touting their pro-business credentials.
Presumably, their support for business extends to new companies like SolBright — and isn’t confined to the power companies that seek the Legislature’s regulatory protection.