Dorchester County leaders discussing plans for massive solar farm

Dorchester County News

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Dorchester County Council will soon decide whether to approve a Fee in Lieu of tax agreement with a company that will build a 75 Megawatt solar farm in the county.

“About two years ago, Santee Cooper came out with a new business forecast which really stressed a leaner, greener generation mix,” said Mollie Gore, a spokeswoman for Santee Cooper.

Santee Cooper currently receives power from a solar farm in Colleton County. Gore says they want 425 MW to go online by 2023.

The solar farm in Dorchester County will be built by Johnson Development Associates on a property along Ashley River Road at the Watson Hill site. There is a wooded buffer from the road that officials say will remain in place on the farm is built.

The Fee in Lieu of tax agreement says Johnson will spend about $75 million on the project, but they will spend at least $60 million.

“About this time last year, we began working with Central Electric Cooperative, which is the utility cooperative that buys power from Santee Cooper, and then distribute it to individual co-ops like Berkeley Electric,” said Gore.

Santee Cooper’s long-term plan is to see 1500 MW of solar power built across the state within the next decade.

“Solar power has gotten a lot more competitive in terms of the price over the past few years. Obviously, it is a renewable resource and that’s important.”

Hunter Dawkins, the Director of Development with Johnson Development Associates sent News 2 a statement that says, “Johnson Development is excited to be a part of diversifying energy sources in South Carolina by providing renewable energy to Santee Cooper. The Dorchester County project is one of several solar projects our team is pursuing across the state.”

Monday’s Dorchester County Council meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m.

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