Santee Cooper has picked an affilate of The InterTech Group Inc. of North Charleston to build and operate the state’s largest solar farm, a 3-megawatt project near Walterboro.

Liberty Sun Energy said today it plans to start construction next week and compete the 20-acre project by the end of the year.

Moncks Corner-based Santee Cooper will buy the renewable power in collaboration with Central Electric Power Cooperative and the state’s electric cooperatives.

“We aim to demonstrate the economic viability of solar energy to the utilities and hope this project is the first of many in our state,” said Grant Reeves, senior vice president of The InterTech Group.

Liberty Sun Energy is working on the project with Alder Energy Systems and Gregory Electric Company Inc.

“We have a lot to learn about integrating solar power into our existing generation fleet, from a cost standpoint and from a reliability standpoint, because sunshine is an intermittent resource,” said Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper’s president and CEO. “Liberty Sun brought us a solid proposal that will yield data we will use in shaping our generation portfolio going forward.”

The state-owned utiliy annoucned plans to build the solar farm last month.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.