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Central Electric Power Cooperative announced Thursday that it plans to purchase 150 megawatts of solar power from two locations in Orangeburg County.

The co-op has contracted with Orangeburg County Solar Project, LLC and Orangeburg South Solar Project, LLC to purchase the energy output of the facilities, according to a cooperative press release.

The installations will each produce 75 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power a total of 30,000 average South Carolina homes.

“Our member cooperatives are forward-thinking utilities, and they know solar energy has a place in our energy mix,” said Robert C. Hochstetler, Central’s president and CEO.

“Our power supply planners are looking for ways to integrate renewables into the supply,” he said.

The two solar projects are being developed by Savion, LLC, a utility-scale solar and energy storage company. Savion is a subsidiary of Green Investment Group, part of Macquarie Group.

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The projects will cover approximately 750 acres each near Bowman. Construction will begin in 2021, and both sites are projected to reach commercial operation by the end of 2022.

The investment in the two farms is expected to be about $170 million.

Google, a Berkeley Electric Cooperative member that operates a data center in Berkeley County, has been working with cooperatives to encourage additional renewable resources and the projects are a result of that collaboration.

“These projects are a continuation of the strong relationship between the Savion team and Orangeburg County,” said Justin McGeeney, director of development for Savion. “The county has established itself as a leader in renewable energy in South Carolina and this support has paved the way for some of the largest solar energy projects in the state."

"The partnership between Orangeburg County and the Savion team has resulted in 300 megawatts of solar energy projects, which has generated environmental and economic benefits that will last for decades," McGeeney said.

The Columbia-based Central Electric Co-op serves 20 member cooperatives.

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