Saluda Solar Farm

A Charleston-based solar company announced August 28 it is investing $28 million in the development of a 20-megawatt solar farm near Elloree.

“Southern Current’s entire team commends Orangeburg County and its partners on this commitment to harness reliable, cost-effective solar energy for the future," Southern Current Chief Development Officer Paul Fleury said.

"This $28 million investment will produce a substantial amount of clean energy, which is good for the community and the entire state of South Carolina. We’re proud to be part of this important movement,” he said.

The 180-acre solar farm will be known as Ulmer Solar LLC. The solar farm will be located southwest of the Food Lion Distribution facility near Felderville Road, Veneer Street and Farmers Road.

The solar farm will create some local jobs during construction, and then local labor will be used for maintenance and upkeep. There will be no full-time jobs.

Southern Current is an owner and developer of utility-scale solar energy facilities across the Southeastern United States.

“Clean, renewable energy is vital in the future development of communities across America," Elloree Mayor Michael Fanning said. "The town of Elloree welcomes Ulmer Solar to Orangeburg County and the Elloree community.”

County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr. said the county is grateful for the investment.

"Our growing partnership creates a positive impact for our citizens by bringing economic and environmental benefits to our county. We wish you much success,” he said.

The company will pay a fee-in-lieu of taxes for 30 years based on an assessment ratio of 6 percent instead of the standard 10.5 percent for industry. The project is expected to generate about $1.8 million in total revenue over the 30 years.

The company will also be placed in a multi-county industrial park with Dorchester County. The multi-county industrial park is a mechanism designed to provide industries with additional incentives. There is no physical park.

The project follows Southern Current’s $10 million, 8-megawatt solar facility near Springfield. It was announced in March 2017.

The solar company's announcement received praise statewide.

“We’re grateful that Southern Current continues to invest in our rural communities and helps provide clean, abundant energy that is vital to the economic prosperity of our entire state,” Gov. Henry McMaster said.

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said, “The renewable energy market continues to be a major driver of South Carolina’s economy, and today’s announcement in Orangeburg County is proof of that."

Plans have been announced for eight solar farms in Orangeburg County. Six farms have been announced in Calhoun County and one has been announced in Bamberg County over the last three years.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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Staff Writer

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

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