Santee Cooper, the state-owned public power utility in South Carolina based in Moncks Corner, has signed contracts to take about 27.5 percent of the output of five planned solar power projects in South Carolina totaling 425 megawatts (MW).
Central Electric Power Cooperative, Santee Cooper’s largest customer, has signed contracts to take the remaining share of the output of the solar projects.
Santee Cooper will manage the solar projects as part of its combined power system. As the aggregator for South Carolina’s individual electric cooperatives, Central Electric Power Cooperative represents about 72.5 percent of the system’s load.
The 425 MW of solar power would be equal to nearly 40 percent of the currently installed solar capacity in South Carolina.
The largest of the planned solar installations are two 100-MW projects being built, owned and operated by Silicon Ranch, the solar power platform of Shell. The Lambert I and Lambert II projects are sited in Georgetown County, South Carolina, and are expected online in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Birdseye Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of Dominion Energy, is developing a 75-MW solar farm in Aiken County, also expected online in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Ecoplexus is developing the 75-MW Hemingway project in Williamsburg County that is expected online in the second quarter of 2023.
Johnson Development Associates is developing a 75-MW solar farm near Summerville, in Dorchester County that is expected online in the fourth quarter of 2023.
The four developers were chosen through a request for proposals (RFP) a year ago that was jointly analyzed by Santee Cooper and Central Electric Power Cooperative.
The RFP process yielded 58 project proposals totaling more than 3,600 MW.
Santee Cooper said the recently contracted solar projects represent the first of three phases it is planning as it as it transforms its generating portfolio to a leaner, greener mix. The next phases, of another approximately 500 MW each, are scheduled for later in this decade and in the early years of the next decade.