Earlier this week, our friends at South Carolina’s Palmetto Conservative Solar Coalition (PCSC) held a very energetic rally at the State House in Columbia. The event drew hundreds of supporters, including a number who work in the solar industry, and it attracted significant media attention, such as this story from the local Fox affiliate.
The rally was aimed at passing H. 4421, a measure that would lift the existing cap on net metering in the state—currently set at an arbitrary 2 percent limit of a utility’s peak capacity. Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.
It is critical that this bill is passed before the legislative session ends in June. The state’s solar industry was basically nonexistent before 2014, when Governor Nikki Haley signed Act 236 in order to ease previous restrictions on solar energy. In a few short years since then, it has created about 3,000 jobs; but the law also established the 2 percent cap as a sort of test run to get a wide range of stakeholders to agree to try net metering on a limited basis. The future of the solar industry in South Carolina now depends on eliminating this cap.
“If we hit a 2 percent cap without a meaningful solution for net metering for solar in the future, those jobs go away pretty quickly,” Southern Current Vice President Bret Sowers said.
Today, South Carolina consumers clearly want access to solar energy—regardless of their political affiliation. Given the demand, the cap is obsolete, and conservatives are getting behind solar because they recognize the further potential for economic growth and job creation. We have faith that the PCSC will help get H. 4421 passed.
So, what is the PCSC? Former Congressman J. Gresham Barrett founded the group of conservatives, which is dedicated to promoting the removal of barriers to solar businesses and applying free market principles to help further energy independence with solar energy in South Carolina.
The rally is just one way the PCSC is supporting the state’s growing solar industry through grassroots and grasstops action. Last month, for example, they partnered with CRES Forum to sponsor the successful “Solar Tariffs and the Future of Clean Energy in SC” event. (View highlights from the event here.)They are also pursuing earned media such as this op-ed published earlier this year.
We congratulate the PCSC on their fantastic rally and encourage them to keep up the good fight. We hope to see more grassroots efforts like this in other states—they can truly make a difference and help boost clean energy industries.
Video of this week’s rally can be viewed on PCSC’s Facebook page.