Landmark solar array dedicated at Technical College of the Lowcountry | Technical College of the LowCountry

Landmark solar array dedicated at Technical College of the Lowcountry

February 02, 2010

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BLUFFTON, SC – Santee Cooper, Palmetto Electric Cooperative and the Technical College of the Lowcountry today dedicated a 20-kilowatt solar array at TCL’s New River Campus. The project is the largest solar installation in the Lowcountry and was made possible by South Carolinians who purchase Santee Cooper Green Power.


The project includes a series of nine canopies, each covered with 10 solar panels and sheltering a bench, adding another level of functionality to the installation. The electricity generated by the panels will be metered and supplied to the grid through Palmetto Electric Cooperative’s distribution system.


“Palmetto Electric has been a great partner with Santee Cooper in promoting the sale of our Green Power renewable energy,” said Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper president and chief executive officer. “We are proud to partner with Palmetto again today, for the benefit of Technical College of the Lowcountry and all of its students. This 20-kilowatt array is quite handsome, as I’m sure you’ll agree, and it provides a functional gathering space for students and others. The real beauty, though, is in the educational opportunities it affords, and the lessons we all can learn about making better use of the sun’s rays.”


Palmetto Electric Cooperative was the first electric cooperative in South Carolina to promote Santee Cooper Green Power to its customers, and Palmetto today has one of the largest groups of customers supporting the state’s original renewable energy program.


“Palmetto Electric is proud of the role we’ve played in bringing this 20-kilowatt solar power machine to our corner of the state,” said G. Thomas Upshaw, Palmetto Electric president and chief executive officer. “We have promoted the benefits of renewable green power for years to our customers, and our customers have clearly said they want more. I can think of no better place for this demonstration project than at Technical College of the Lowcountry, where it can be an anchor for continuing research and development into renewable energy.”


Dr. Tom Leitzel, TCL president, said, “TCL is honored to showcase these advances in alternative energy. It fits perfectly with the renewable energy emphasis we stress in our industrial and engineering technology curricula.”


Solar power technology has been expensive for South Carolina utilities to implement in large scale, because of the state’s haze and humidity. Santee Cooper continues to monitor technological advances in the industry, and is promoting broad understanding of solar power through demonstration projects such as this. Santee Cooper has installed several demonstration-scale solar models around the state, including a 20-kW array being used to research renewable energy storage solutions at the Center for Hydrogen Research in Aiken, and several 2-kW arrays at its Green Power Solar Schools offering middle school science lessons in partnership with the state’s electric cooperatives.


Santee Cooper Green Power revenues paid for the $230,000 solar project at TCL. Santee Cooper has generated and sold renewable Green Power since 2001, and the cooperatives began promoting it in 2003 when Palmetto Electric Cooperative signed on. Customers can purchase blocks of Green Power for $3 a month; all Green Power revenues are reinvested in new or expanded Green Power projects in South Carolina.


The high-efficiency panels are manufactured by SunPower Corp. and installed by Argand Energy Solutions. The contemporary canopy design is by Watson Tate Savory Architects. Linton’s Mechanical Services of Goose Creek fabricated the supporting steel structures. Santee Cooper’s General Construction Group performed the site work and installation of the support structures.


Santee Cooper is South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility, and the state’s largest power producer. The ultimate source of electricity for 2 million South Carolinians, Santee Cooper is dedicated to being the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina. For more information, visit


Palmetto Electric Cooperative is a non-profit electrical distribution utility that is owned by the members it serves. The Cooperative serves over 66,000 consumers in southern Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties. Palmetto Electric’s mission is to provide diversified, innovative energy and related services to its customers consistent with sound business practices, while always acting in a community-building leadership role. For more information, visit or call 843- 208-5551.


One of 16 colleges comprising the South Carolina Technical College System, the Technical College of the Lowcountry traces its origin to the Mather School founded in 1868. TCL is a comprehensive, public, two-year college dedicated to serving the diverse educational needs of Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties. The College annually serves approximately 10,000 credit and continuing education students, a mix of traditional, non-traditional, full-time and part-time. TCL provides quality, affordable academic and technical programs leading to associate degrees, diplomas and certificates. For more information, visit or call 843.525.8211.


Contact: Leigh Copeland
Office: 843- 525-8231

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