Green Power is energy generated from renewable sources: methane, solar, and wind.
Solar Energy

Solar Energy is no different than the energy created by electric utilities; only the environmentally-friendly process by which it is created is different.


The Sun is essentially a huge power plant sending out waves of energy made up of small particles called Photons. These photons enter the earth’s atmosphere and are responsible for the heat and light that we receive from the sun. When these photons hit the surface of a photovoltaic cell (The large panels on houses, calculators, or in solar energy farms) they help produce an electrical current that can be tapped for use in appliances.

There are currently three Green Power Solar demonstration projects in the state.



Grand Strand Solar Station
Myrtle Beach, SC


April 18, 2011 officials with Santee Cooper and the South Carolina Energy Office dedicated the Grand Strand Solar Station, officially launching the state’s largest solar power installation and the newest facility in Santee Cooper’s Green Power generating fleet.


The Grand Strand Solar Station has a rated capacity of 311 kilowatts generated by 1,325 solar panels. The panels are mounted on rooftops and an adjacent field at Santee Cooper’s warehouse facilities in Myrtle Beach.  When it went online, the station significantly increased Santee Cooper’s solar generation and represents a 35 percent increase in total solar capacity for South Carolina.


The $1.3-million project is unique because of its size, and also because of its funding. Solar power is more expensive than traditional generation, and Santee Cooper secured a $475,000 grant administered by the South Carolina Energy Office to pay part of the cost; the grant was funded through the U.S. Department of Energy as part of 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Santee Cooper Green Power revenues, provided by customers who voluntarily purchase Santee Cooper Green Power, provided another $500,000, with the balance coming from the utility’s capital budget.


The Grand Strand Solar Station was installed by Sunstore Solar Energy Solutions and includes a pull-off area and signage to accommodate visitors who want to learn more about solar power. The solar panels are designed to withstand winds of 130 miles per hour and one-inch hail at 52 mph. The Grand Strand Solar Station will avoid more than 14.8 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the panels.

Santee Cooper also currently operates three large Green Power Solar demonstration projects in operation across the state.



Santee Cooper and Coastal Carolina University
Conway, SC


In 2006, the first solar Green Power site was dedicated in South Carolina at Coastal Carolina University.At Coastal, Santee Cooper installed photovoltaic modules on four open-air structures, each measuring 27 feet by 22 feet. The structures are used as bus stops and for other campus and community events. The project’s cost was about $250,000 and is producing 16-kilowatts of electricity that is now on Santee Cooper’s electrical grid. Pegram Associates’ Steve Hepler of Myrtle Beach provided the architectural services, and the solar installation was by One World Sustainable Energy Corporation. Also located at the site are special metering equipment that enables viewers to see how much electricity is being produced at any moment.


A nearby educational Web-based exhibit includes access to site performance data and other renewable energy information.



Santee Cooper and the Center for Hydrogen Rearch
Aiken, SC


In May 2009, Santee Cooper and the Center for Hydrogen Research dedicated a 20-kilowatt solar panel array that advances hydrogen generation from renewable energy sources. Specifically, the array enables the CHR to research applications of hydrogen as a storage solution for solar energy.


The photovoltaic array is installed in two locations, on the roof of the CHR connected to the Education, Training and Development Laboratory and in a ground-evel solar park that will give access to school groups and other interested parties. The roof hosts a 14-kW set of panels, and the solar park holds the remaining 6 kW.



Santee Cooper, Palmetto Electric Cooperative and the Technical College of the Lowcountry
Bluffton, SC


In January 2010, Santee Cooper, Palmetto Electric Cooperative and the Technical College of the Lowcountry dedicated a 20-kilowatt solar array at TCL’s New River Campus. The project was the largest solar installation in the Lowcountry and was made possible by South Carolinians who purchase Santee Cooper Green Power.


The project includes a series of nine canopies, each covered with 10 solar panels and sheltering a bench, adding another level of functionality to the installation. The electricity generated by the panels are metered and supplied to the grid through Palmetto Electric Cooperative’s distribution system.


Green Power Solar Schools - (Click here for more information on solar schools)


With school-based, solar power sites throughout the state, we're doing more than spearheading the effort to convert sunlight into clean, pollution-free electricity for all of our customers.


We're educating tomorrow's leaders about the opportunities and limitations of solar power.