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Furman U Solar Plans Derailed by Net Metering

The South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) has scheduled an interactive public workshop to reconsider solar energy rules currently preventing Furman University from moving forward with new solar initiatives.

The state currently caps solar production of non-residential entities that also purchase electricity from utility companies to 100 kilowatts. The net metering law is designed to protect the utilities that build power lines and other infrastructure that all customers use, even those producing their own electricity through solar.

Furman University began installing solar photovoltaic panels more than 10 years ago, before net metering was put in place, and reached the 100-kW limit when it installed a 92-kW array atop its physical activities center two years ago.

Today, the university is looking into building a 5-megawatt project on 30 acres near campus. The project would be the largest solar array in the state, and would also reach the production cap 50 times over. Jeff Redderson, associate vice president for facility and campus services told The State that the school would also like to develop smaller projects.

Solar energy production is part of a larger sustainability strategy at Furman University. The school, with fewer than 3,000 students, also established the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability in 2008 and has launched a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2026, among other initiatives.

The PSC workshop to reevaluate net metering rules in South Carolina will be held September 12.

Visit furman.edu to learn more about Furman University's sustainability efforts.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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