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Santee Cooper awards contract to build, operate 3-MW solar farm

From the October 11, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published October 11, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
Santee Cooper has awarded a contract to Liberty Sun Energy to build and operate South Carolina’s largest solar farm, a 3-MW project that the utility said "will provide renewable energy and vital data about the costs and integration of utility-scale solar power in South Carolina."

Construction is expected to begin Oct. 14, with project completion anticipated by the end of 2013. Santee Cooper will purchase the farm's solar power in collaboration with Central Electric Power Cooperative and the state's electric cooperatives.

"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 Santee Cooper President and CEO Lonnie Carter. "Liberty Sun brought us a solid proposal that will yield data we will use in shaping our generation portfolio going forward."

"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, the parent of Liberty Energy, which is dedicated to developing solar power projects in South Carolina. 

"This project is a real-world, full-scale learning tool," said Ron Calcaterra, president and CEO of Central Electric Power Cooperative. "The question co-ops want to answer is how we can design a consumer-friendly product that makes solar power available to our members in a reliable, affordable and economically sustainable way. We expect to gain a tremendous amount of insight from this installation." 


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro