DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A company contracted by Santee Cooper will develop a solar farm near Summerville as part of the state-owned utility’s initiative to expand its solar resources.

Santee Cooper announced Wednesday it has contracted for its share of 425 megawatts of new utility-scale solar power that will be added to the utility system in 2023, through several projects that will be built across South Carolina – specifically in the Lowcountry region.

Central Electric Power Cooperative, Santee Cooper’s largest customer, finalized contracts with the same developers for the remaining share.

The company says that 425 megawatts of solar are equal to nearly 40% of the currently installed solar capacity in South Carolina.

Among the projects, Johnson Development Associates are slated to develop a 75-MW solar farm in Dorchester County. The project is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.

According to Santee Cooper, Johnson Development Associates is a multi-division real estate developer of industrial, multifamily, and self-storage properties on a nationwide scale.

“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 developing across the state,” said Hunter Dawkins, of Johnson Development Associates.

The company is based in Spartanburg and has developed a renewable energy platform focused on diversifying energy sources in the state.

Nashville-based Silicon Ranch, the U.S. solar platform for Shell and one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, will build, own, and operate two projects in Georgetown County totaling 200 MW.

The projects are named Lambert I and Lambert II and are expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Ecoplexus will build a 75-MW solar project in Williamsburg County. That project is named Hemingway and is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2023.

Additionally, Birdseye is developing a 75-MW solar farm in Aiken County which should be operational in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“These solar projects are the best of the best, in terms of delivering experience, reliability and competitively priced power, and the results prove that this kind of market-based approach produces the best benefits for our customers.,” said Santee Cooper President and CEO Mark Bonsall. “We are incredibly pleased to be working with an excellent group of solar developers as we transform our power supply to one that is significantly more sustainable and less expensive.”

Leaders with Santee Cooper say the four developers were chosen following a process that began a year ago with a request for proposals, sent to nearly 30 solar developers, and a joint analysis by Santee Cooper and Central of 58 submitted project proposals totaling more than 3,600 MW.