From the Charleston Post and Courier:
New figures from a consortium of local governments show that close to 1,400 permits were issued for solar installations in the region last year. That’s compared to fewer than 100 in 2015.
The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments says virtually all of those permits were issued to homeowners, as prices for solar systems have fallen and state policy changes have made them more lucrative.
The boom in residential solar projects reflects the state’s growing photovoltaic capacity, which is driven in large part by large-scale solar farms in rural stretches of South Carolina.
Solar-generated electricity covers only a small portion of the state’s energy usage. South Carolina has 78 megawatts of solar energy capacity, according to a trade group — most of it installed in 2016.
That number is poised to grow enormously in the coming years. The Solar Energy Industry Association expects 1,501 megawatts of capacity to be installed here over the next five years, including about 500 megawatts this year. That’s the 17th-highest projection in the country.
The expanded capacity would still be dwarfed by power sources like nuclear and coal, even as it starts to make a dent. The state generates a total of 22,698 megawatts in summer months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.