Sunrise in South Carolina
Act 236: The Distributed Energy Resource Program Act
Adopted in 2014, Act 236 is a balanced compromise bill developed by electric cooperatives, investor-owned utilities, solar power proponents and conservationists to open the way for more distributed energy production in South Carolina.
Taken together, the bill’s key provisions – giving customers the freedom to lease solar, permitting utilities to introduce distributed energy programs, and ensuring equitable net metering rules – are complimentary approaches that will expand customer options and increase cost effective renewable power in South Carolina.
Enables Leasing of Solar Panels
Act 236 allows homes and businesses to lease solar systems from independent solar companies and reduce their energy costs immediately. Solar leasing gives consumers independence, promotes market competition, and enables South Carolinians of modest means to access solar energy.
Opens the Way for Utility Distributed Energy Programs
Distributed energy resources like solar enhance grid security, increase consumer independence, and reduce health costs from pollution. Act 236 opens the way for utilities to get power from residential and commercial renewable installations as well as from utility-scale projects.
Sets Updated Net-Metering Rates
Utilities, solar businesses, and conservation groups reached a settlement agreement in December on how rooftop solar will be treated for the foreseeable future in South Carolina. The settlement agreement is a critical step forward in implementing Act 236.
Under the settlement, residential and commercial utility customers that install solar panels on their rooftops before 2021 will receive full retail credit for any excess power that flows back onto the electric grid and will be eligible to remain on this rate until December 31, 2025 without any solar-specific charges or fees.
The settlement also establishes a methodology for valuing solar power for purposes of utility recovery of lost revenues, if any, which will be recoverable by the utilities through distributed energy resource programs that were authorized by Act 236. In 2020, the PSC will reevaluate the solar policies included in the settlement and will consider any appropriate changes at that time.