An Orangeburg County solar farm project ranked as the eighth largest capital investment announcement in the state in 2017.

Cypress Creek Renewables announced in December its plans to invest $115 million in the construction of a 75-megawatt solar farm in Orangeburg County.

The company will build the facility on 550 acres near Bowman on S.C. Highway 210.

No new jobs are being promised with the investment, although there will be employment related to the ongoing operation of the facility. The investment is related to machinery and equipment.

The solar farm is to be complete by the summer of 2019.

The county has authorized incentives for the project, such as the fee-in-lieu of taxes. The project is also part of the multicounty industrial park, which is a mechanism designed to provide an industry with additional incentives. There is no physical park.

The company will lease the land from a private landowner.

The power will be sold to South Carolina Electric & Gas and will be able to help the utility serve customers during periods of high demand.

The solar company was ranked in the top 10 largest capital investments in South Carolina for 2017, according to the S.C. Department of Commerce.

In total, the state won 157 economic development projects last year, accounting for $5.24 billion in capital investment and 18,445 new jobs. It is the largest total capital investment made in the state since 2013, according to Commerce. In 2013, the investment total announced was $5.4 billion.

Agribusiness and automotive were the leading recruitment sectors.

Volvo Cars ranked number 1 both in capital investment announced ($620 million) and jobs announced (1,910).

According to Commerce, 49 percent of the investments were domestic with Germany comprising 18 percent of the state's investment announcements in 2017.

About 60 percent of the investments were made by new companies.

"South Carolina has become an industrial powerhouse," Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "To recruit more than $5 billion in capital investment -- a feat which had never occurred prior to 2011 -- takes a remarkable amount of collaboration and teamwork from many partners across this state."

Although manufacturing is heavily represented, South Carolina’s list of top announcements from last year reflects a diverse economy.

It is the fourth time in seven years capital investment in the state exceeded $5 billion.

“Our state’s future prosperity is dependent on providing opportunities for every South Carolinian, and we have shown that the best way to do that is to create a competitive business environment and a strong workforce that attracts companies and jobs,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “2017 was a fantastic year, but with a commitment to further developing our workforce, I know that South Carolina’s best days are ahead.”

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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