News

Smith: Solar makes sense, and dollars, for South Carolina

August 28, 2015

COLUMBIA, SC - When I worked to pass a law last year to encourage solar energy in South Carolina, my hope was to give homeowners the option to use solar to power their homes and help residents save money on their electric bills. Now with a new program called Solarize South Carolina ) and the electric payment incentives finalized from the Public Service Commission, homeowners can gain significant benefits by going solar.

Consider just a few reasons it makes sense to go solar:

Financial benefit: Solar power keeps your electric bills low. You're producing your own electricity so you are protected against rising energy costs, making solar both a great short-term and long-term investment. And several programs authorized by state law make purchasing a solar system pain-free. Tax credits of 30 percent from the feds and 25 percent from the state, along with net metering and additional incentives from SCE&G and Duke Energy, knock down the cost so much it pays for itself in six to eight years. There's also a no-down-payment option that means that instead of paying money toward your electric bill, you'll be paying toward a solar system that generates free energy for your home.

Energy independence: We talk a lot about our nation's dependence on foreign oil. And we're all aware that with the proliferation of plug-in devices and larger TV screens, our electric bills are on the rise. With solar, your roof becomes an energy producer, working on your behalf.

Local jobs: Putting more solar on rooftops gives our installers reason to hire extra staff. These are boots-on-the-roof jobs that can't be outsourced. In the past four years alone, solar energy across the country had an 86 percent employment growth - expecting to hire 36,000 workers in 2015. This growth is 20 times higher than the rest of the U.S. economy.

Financial benefits, energy independence and local jobs - it all adds up to solar being good for homeowners and good for our state. I hope you will join me in supporting solar here at home. Get started by signing up at solarizesc.org to find out if your home is good for solar.

REP. JAMES E. SMITH JR.

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