Selling solar power a challenge in S.C.

Image by flickr user jhritzImage by 20080519solar.jpg Selling excess energy produced by solar panels is an increasingly popular practice, but one that's seen little adoption in South Carolina.

A handful of South Carolina residents and businesses are trying something different: not only making their own energy, but selling energy to the power companies. It's a relatively simple idea. Buy a solar panel (or other power-generating device) and sell excess energy back to the power companies. The practice is called net metering.

But the state has faced a problems with the practice. Small-scale systems used by consumers and businesses are still pretty new technology. Furthermore, few businesses produce enough excess energy to bother with the hassle, and consumers need help and guidance with installing the complex systems. Support systems needed for consumers just are just getting established in South Carolina.

The Charleston Battery and Half-Moon Outfitters are two local companies that have made substantial investments in solar power and hope to sell some energy to power companies.

Proponents of the sell-back system also see it as a one-day alternative to controversial coal-fired power plants.

If you're interested in finding out more, check out South Carolina Energy Office's net metering page, their and Santee Cooper's Green page. Santee Cooper also offers low-interest loans for energy efficient improvements.

As of February, 195 solar systems had been installed in South Carolina, according to the South Carolina Energy Office.

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