A Virginia company is planning to build an $85 million solar farm in Orangeburg County.
Brewer Renewables, a subsidiary of Seahorse Capital, is going to build the new solar farm in Orangeburg on Cannon Bridge Road near Riley Road.
“We appreciate the help and support of the Orangeburg County Council, county administration and the Orangeburg County Development Commission to make this 100-megawatt solar energy project a reality and are excited to contribute to making Orangeburg County the solar capital of South Carolina," Brewer Renewables President and CEO Kevin Casey said.
The solar farm will create temporary jobs during the construction phase but, like most solar farms, no permanent jobs will be created.
The solar farm will be located on a combination of cultivated farmland and managed timberland.
It will include a 100-megawatt solar facility with the option for additional energy storage of up to 100 megawatts and 400 megawatt hours, which can provide power to roughly 20,000 South Carolina homes, according to a company press release.
The project is expected to be operational in 2023.
Founded in 2019, Brewer Renewables develops sustainable, renewable energy projects in the southeastern United States.
“As Orangeburg County continues to be a leader in renewable energy, we are pleased to see the addition of this project that not only provides the benefit of clean energy for our residents and businesses, but also provides economic opportunities for our communities," Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright said. "We are grateful to have the opportunity to supply clean, renewable energy.”
Orangeburg County has announced over $500 million in new solar investment over the last three years, leading the state, Orangeburg County Development Commission Executive Director Gregg Robinson said.
“The beauty of the solar farm is that there is no direct cost associated with these types of investments," Robinson said.
"These types of projects generate over several hundred thousand dollars annually. There are no impacts on schools, no impacts on water and sewer,” he said.
Robinson says at the beginning of the solar farm's life, the tax impact is about $500,000 annually before tapering down during the life of the investment.
Currently, the property is taxed for agriculture and generates less than $10,000 in taxes annually, Robinson said.
"This is a significant jump," he said.
“Orangeburg County is eager to become the solar capital of South Carolina with Brewer Renewables, who provides safe and clean renewable energy while adding a boost in our economy with additional jobs for our citizens," Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said.
The announcement also received praise statewide.
“Brewer Renewables’ $85 million investment is a win not just for Orangeburg County, but for our entire state as our solar energy sector continues to flourish," Gov. Henry McMaster said.
S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said the announcement helps secure the state's reputation as a premier location to do business.
“Investments like this one continue to grow South Carolina’s reputation as a top business destination for industries of all types," Hitt said.
“We welcome Brewer Renewables to its new home in Orangeburg County, and congratulate our partners in Orangeburg on another great win," Central SC Alliance Chairman W. Keller Kissam said. "With the addition of this new solar farm, the future of the local alternative energy industry and access to sustainable resources for our communities shine a little brighter.”
Ten other projects have been announced in Orangeburg County over the past three years. Solar farm developers have promised to invest a total of $503.5 million and provide 460 megawatts of power.
About half a dozen farms have also been announced in Calhoun County and one has been announced in Bamberg County over the last three years.
Seahorse Capital was formed by a small group of investors led by Kevin Casey during 2017 to develop utility-scale solar facilities in the southeastern United States.