South Carolina leads the solarizing way

Solar panels on top of a James Island home. (Provided/File)

Our Legislature, Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Electric and Gas and Duke Energy have put South Carolina on the leading edge on solar power.

While other states dither and fight, South Carolina is taking the lead.

Across the United States, more solar was installed in 2014 than in any other year ever — 30 percent more than was installed in 2013.

And 2015 doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. More than 51 percent of all new electric generating capacity in the United States came from solar in the first few months of 2015 — more than even natural gas.

This growth has taken place even though utilities in other states have tried to stop competitors from financing and installing solar systems.

Not so SCE&G and Duke Energy. They have seen the future, and they want to be part of it.

Other legislatures in other states have become bogged down in endless fights over the prices to be paid by utilities for power produced by homeowners.

Not so the S.C. General Assembly. Its members saw the opportunity to empower citizens, and they found a way forward with the help of folks like Hamilton Davis at the Coastal Conservation League.

Other Republican governors in other states have been fearful to cross tribal boundaries lest they be called watermelons — green on the outside, communist red on the inside. Not so Gov. Haley. She gets the entrepreneurial opportunity of turning God-given sunshine into liberty-enhancing, home-grown power.

Now comes the opportunity for homeowners to own the future through an exciting statewide initiative called Solarize South Carolina (www.solarizesc.org).

Solarize South Carolina is a community-focused campaign that works with local cities and towns, faith communities and others to host events, connect with reputable installers, and provide clear financing options that will make the transition to solar much easier for families across the Palmetto State.

Solarize South Carolina is designed to simplify the decision to install solar. Working closely with local South Carolina installers from Charleston to Greenville, Solarize South Carolina helps homeowners understand the process and get the best price and system for their homes. Homeowners can even get a zero down payment loan that makes solar very affordable.

A particular strength of the South Carolina program is the tremendous support of SCE&G. SCE&G has been at the forefront of the renewable energy transition, and is a strong supporter of Solarize South Carolina as a way to provide additional benefits for its customers.

Danny Kassis, SCE&G vice president of Customer Relations and Renewables said in a recent statement: “Our support and investment in solar is an important part of this effort to create a balanced energy portfolio that will serve our customers for the future.”

The cost for going solar is falling rapidly. In the past five years, the average cost for a residential solar installation has fallen 50 percent.

With financing options now available in South Carolina, the time to go solar has never been better.

With clear vision and determination, South Carolina is making it easier than ever.

Bob Inglis, now of republicEn.org, represented South Carolina’s 4th District as a Republican in the U.S. House from 1993-1999 and from 2005-2011.