I’m in Columbia today celebrating a big win for solar rights in South Carolina! The Senate just passed our Energy Freedom Act in a unanimous bipartisan vote.
This is a huge win for solar progress, bipartisanship and the power of public engagement. After a disappointing nail-biter of a finish to last year’s legislative session meant that the solar bill didn’t pass due to a technicality — we didn’t give up. Since then, we’ve been part of a mighty coalition of businesses, conservation groups, and community leaders from across the political spectrum who are united in working to expand solar opportunity and decrease dependence on the monopoly utilities in South Carolina.
Together we’ve attended countless meetings with lawmakers and stakeholders, rallied with solar workers on the Capitol steps, and helped thousands of South Carolinians have made calls and sent emails urging action. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle heard that support loud and clear and powered the Energy Freedom Act forward, passing it through the House in an eye-popping unanimous vote and now across the finish line in the Senate. We want to thank the many lawmakers who acted on behalf of their constituents by passing this bill, and especially Representatives Peter McCoy and Nathan Ballentine and Senators Tom Davis and Greg Gregory for their tireless leadership.
Below is our official press statement on today's news. After years of hard work, I’m so proud to see South Carolina helping lead the nation to a brighter, stronger clean energy future — and I hope you are too.
PRESS RELEASE: Vote Solar Applauds Senate Passage of South Carolina's Energy Freedom Act
Columbia, SC: Today the South Carolina State Senate passed the Energy Freedom Act in a uninimous third and final floor vote. The bill, which has already passed the House with unanimous bipartisan support, now faces final concurrence by the House before moving on to Governor Henry McMaster’s desk to be signed into law. Vote Solar joined local leaders in applauding the vote and urging continued forward progress for the bill, which will expand affordable solar options, competitive clean energy development, and local jobs in South Carolina.
“The Energy Freedom Act will clear away the obstacles that currently block clean energy — but this legislation is about more than that,” said Sen. Tom Davis. “It is really about that old fashioned, conservative goal of allowing more competition in the economy. Competition drives down energy costs, which lowers bills for ratepayers. At the same time, competition creates jobs and drives millions in private investment in our state.”
"Thanks to impressive bipartisan leadership from state lawmakers, South Carolina is one step closer to removing needless regulatory barriers and giving more families and businesses the access to affordable, reliable and competitive solar power that they so urgently need,” said Vote Solar's Southeast Regional Director Thad Culley. “It's this kind of bold action that's making South Carolina a leader in our nation's new energy economy, which is helping lower bills, create good jobs and build a brighter future for the state. We applaud legislators for acting in the interest of the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians who want more affordable clean energy options with today's vote, and we urge the Senate and House to work together to send the Energy Freedom Act to the Governor's desk before time runs out on the 2019 session."
About Vote Solar: Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org