Dorchester County News

Scout Boats unveils new solar energy system; part of growing trend of SC companies utilizing solar

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) - Scout Boats and Hannah Solar Government Services unveiled a new solar energy system on Friday at its newest manufacturing facility on Spaniel Lane, just outside of Summerville.

The company is just one of many across South Carolina that are joining in on the growing trend of solar energy utilization.

The solar panels, located on the roof of the building, will produce 92 percent of the energy needed to power it.

"It's a way that a lot of manufacturers are softening their footprint on the world," said John Truluck, the director of Dorchester County Economic Development.

Less than a mile away from Scout Boats, fork lift manufacturer Kion North America also installed a solar panel system about a year ago.

In 2011, Boeing installed solar panels at its facility in North Charleston. It now generates enough power for 250 homes, annually. 

According to Dominion Energy there is over 100 times more solar generation in the company's South Carolina energy system than there was 5 years ago. 4.2 megawatts of solar was generated in the state in 2014, under SCE&G, and today 446 megawatts is produced. Of that, 45 megawatts are generated in the tri-county area. 

"At the close of 2018, we ranked  2nd in the Southeast in terms of solar generation for large utility systems over 500,000 customers," Dominion Energy spokesman Paul Fischer wrote it an e-mail. "We remain committed to a cleaner, brighter energy future for the all of our customers."

One of the reasons companies are utilizing solar more is because it saves them money.

"When you're generating your own electricity, you're able to save money that you would be having to outlay on your ongoing expenses," said Dave McNeil, the CEO and president of Hannah Solar Government Services.

The solar panel systems can be costly but investing in them can pay off.

"It is a system that within four to five years pays for itself," said Steve Potts, the CEO and President of Scout Boats. "So after that you're basically, I don't want to say you're getting free energy, but 90 percent of what you would have spent historically, you'll be saving."

Potts said that the company will install additional solar panels that will power all of its buildings, on Highway 78, by the end of the year.


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