MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCBD) – Berkeley Electric Cooperative on Friday held a dedication ceremony for its first community solar garden, located at the co-op’s Strawberry Substation.

The Moncks Corner location is part one of a two-part project, with the second location set to be built in Awendaw. Across the two locations, there will be 200 blocks total up for lease.

Five blocks is the equivalent of 16 solar panels, and each member is limited to a five-block-maximum lease.

Leasing panels enables “members to benefit from solar energy…without having to install them on their property.”

Eddie Powden, manager of marketing/energy services, explained that leasing “is a hassle-free way for members to go solar without worrying about having holes in their roof or maintaining a solar system. It also enables members who may have homeowner association restrictions to participate and the subscriptions are transferrable.”

As part of the program, members will have a monthly credit added to their electric bill “based on the number of blocks they lease.”

The program is designed to produce “long-term potential savings” as “each block costs $10.00 for eight years, and members will receive the credit value of the solar produced for 15 years.”

Currently, there are 46 members subscribed, making both programs completely full.

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Also recently installed at the Strawberry site were two Tesla battery packs “designed to store…about 4 hours of solar PV production.” Berkeley Electric says that the batteries “will be charged largely at night during off-peak hours when electricity prices are the lowest,” then “the stored energy will.. be discharged during periods of peak energy use to help reduce demand costs for all members.”