What is rooftop solar?

Rooftop solar refers to a system of solar panels installed on a customer’s roof that convert sunlight into electricity. Rooftop solar, which may also be referred to as a solar electric system or a photovoltaic (PV) system, can be used at your home or business to offset the amount of electricity you use.

Does Santee Cooper install rooftop solar?

No, Santee Cooper does not install solar panels. You may choose a solar installer from our list of qualified Solar Electric (SE) Trade Allies, or pick your own as long as they are a Certified PV Installer per North America Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). For a list of qualified Santee Cooper SE Trade Allies, email a request to solar@santeecooper.com.

How long will rooftop solar last?

On average, a solar panel’s lifespan is 20 years. You should ask your installer how long the solar panels you’re purchasing, and the associated equipment, will be guaranteed.

How much does it cost?

Cost will depend on numerous factors, and your solar installer can assist you with pricing.

How much of a rebate will customers receive from Santee Cooper and how long will it take to receive the rebate?

Santee Cooper will rebate customers with qualified rooftop solar installations at $1.60 per watt, or $1,600 per kilowatt, and there are limitations. Typical turnaround time for you to receive your rebate is within six weeks of Santee Cooper receiving a completed customer rebate application.

Is there a cap on the system size I can install and the rebate I can receive?

Rebates for the installation of solar PV systems are set as a one-time payment of $1.60/watt paid based on the system’s rated capacity (watt AC). Solar Home and Solar Business Rebates are capped at $9,600 per account number. Non-profit Customers are eligible for an additional rebate of $0.25/watt (AC), capped at a maximum of $1,500.

The formula to calculate watt (AC) from watt (DC) is defined as follows:
Number of PV modules x Rated Watts (DC) per PV Module x Inverter Efficiency (%) = Watt (AC)

In addition to the rebate, Solar Home and Solar Business Customers will receive energy credits as outlined in Santee Cooper’s most recent Distributed Generation (DG) Rider. Solar Home and Solar Business participants will be issued the rebate upon verified completion of all of the solar PV system requirements.

How do I know what system size to purchase?

The size of the system you choose will depend on a few factors, such as the amount of money you want to invest, the amount of electricity you want to offset, and the amount of space you have for installing solar panels. A qualified Santee Cooper Solar Electric (SE) Trade Ally or a NABCEP certified installer can help you determine what size system is right for your home or business. For a list of qualified Santee Cooper SE Trade Allies, contact solar@santeecooper.com.

Does Santee Cooper finance rooftop solar panels?

Financing options are available through the Renewable Energy Resource Loan program for Santee Cooper’s well-qualified residential customers who install qualified rooftop solar installations. Please contact solar@santeecooper.com for additional information.

What happens when the sun isn’t shining?

Sunlight is needed for solar panels to produce power, and when the sun isn’t shining, your rooftop solar system’s power production will be affected. As a Santee Cooper customer, you will remain interconnected to Santee Cooper’s electrical grid, and we will serve your home or business electricity needs when there is inadequate sunlight.

What should I expect to see on my bill?

The solar energy produced by your solar panels will offset that amount of Santee Cooper energy you would otherwise be using for that given time, and you may notice you use less Santee Cooper electricity. Your bill will also reflect a standby fee of $4.40 per kW per month.

What is a standby fee and why is it needed?

As of April 1, Santee Cooper Solar Business customers will be charged a Distributed Generation Rider, which includes a standby fee of $4.70 per kW per month, or $18.80 a month for a 4 kW system.

That standby fee is necessary to recover fixed costs, such as maintenance of generation, transmission and distribution systems, to serve solar customers that wouldn’t otherwise be collected, and to ensure those fixed costs are not shifted to non-solar customers.

What if my home or business is not suitable for solar panels?

If your home or business isn’t suitable for solar panels for any reason, you can participate in Santee Cooper’s Solar Share program. Solar Share is a community solar program that allows customers to subscribe to a portion of the energy generated by the Colleton Solar Farm, a Santee Cooper-sponsored community solar farm, without having to install a rooftop solar system at your home or place of business.

If I expand the size of my system, can I apply for another rebate?

If you want to expand the size of your rooftop system, you may be eligible for another rebate. Contact Santee Cooper at solar@santeecooper.com to receive more information.

Will I receive energy credits for excess solar produced?

Solar customers will receive an energy credit of about 3.8 cents per kWh for any excess solar power produced that is put back on the grid. The first 500 residential rooftop customers to sign up will receive an additional 3-cents per kWh credit for excess electricity through 2019, which is also the term for which rebates will be available. You can find more information on energy credits by reviewing the DG Rider under the Rates section of the website.

Who should I contact for more information?

You can email us at solar@santeecooper.com.