LIBRARY Solar farm illustration (copy)

Eagle Solar Group announced in February it plans to build a new $87.9 million solar farm in Orangeburg County.

"We are excited to be part of the growing solar energy industry in this region, and we appreciate the welcoming and pro-business environment here in Orangeburg County and the state of South Carolina,” Eagle Solar Group Managing Director of Origination Chris Kellar said.

The solar farm will generate enough electricity to power approximately 15,000 homes. The new 75-megawatt project outside Bowman is expected to be complete by late 2020.

The project will be located at U.S. Highway 178 near Bethel Forest Road. It will be placed on an amount of land no larger than 1,000 acres.

About three new jobs are associated with the project to maintain the solar farm. The project is expected to result in between 194 and 225 construction jobs.

"Orangeburg County is pleased to continue to establish reliable, clean energy solutions for our residents," Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr. said during the announcement.

"We are grateful for the investment of Eagle Solar Group in our county and certainly appreciate the opportunity to share in the benefits of clean, solar power,” he said.

The company will pay a fee-in-lieu of taxes for 30 years. The fee will be based on an assessment ratio of 6 percent instead of the standard 10.5 percent for industry.

The facility is expected to bring in tax revenue of $225,000 a year for 30 years.

“We welcome the opportunity for Eagle Solar Group to be one of our strong utility partners," Orangeburg County Development Commission Chairman Kenneth Middleton said. "It is our hope that these forward-thinking companies fit well together in our community, fostering positive collaborations and a more sustainable future."

The company will be placed in a multi-county industrial park with Dorchester County.

The multicounty industrial park is a mechanism designed to provide industries with additional incentives. There is no physical park.

The announcement received statewide praise.

"South Carolina's renewable energy industry is thriving, and today's announcement by Eagle Solar Group is just the latest example of that," Gov. Henry McMaster said. "This investment proves that our state is an ideal business destination for companies of all types, and by working together to maintain our pro-business environment, we can ensure a future of prosperity in all corners of our state."

Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said Eagle Solar is another example of a state-of-the-art solar project.

"This $87.9 million investment by Eagle Solar Group is proof that our economic development efforts are paying off, and we are excited to welcome this innovative company to Team South Carolina," Hitt said.

Central S.C. Alliance Chairman Mike Brenan said, "As our business operations and day-to-day lifestyles demand a greater need for alternative energy sources, we're excited that Eagle Solar Group is announcing this new location.”

Eagle Solar Group develops utility-scale solar farms in several U.S. regions, with a specific focus on the Midwest and the Southeast.

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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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