Southern Current believes South Carolina is on the cusp of an energy economy boom as more businesses and organizations look to alternative ways to generate power.
We look at the landscape and opportunity here and we’re in a position to talk differently about South Carolina energy policy,” says Steffanie Dohn, Director of Government Relations for Southern Current. “Much like Boeing, Volvo and BMW have created these ecosystems of supply chains with different up and downstream markets, we think there’s an opportunity for the energy economy to do the same.”
Dohn says the advanced energy economy – everything that’s not gas or a fossil fuel – is a $200 billion industry nationwide, employing 3.3 million people. Solar energy alone makes up about $25 billion of that industry.
As we think about South Carolina’s growth, more and more companies are coming here because they have renewable energy goals,” Dohn says. “As more corporations and consumers are coming here, they want more control over their power – where they get it and how much they pay for it. These are all things that are possible and happening in other markets around the country.”
Based in Charleston, Southern Current has customers across the Southeast in its three divisions: utilities, commercial and residential.
Customers seeking a utility scale solar solution turn to Southern Current for its work in site selection and environmental permitting as well as the development and construction of a solar farm.
In its commercial division, Southern Current is helping businesses save on the rising cost of electricity through solar panels. The commercial solar division focuses on providing services to commercial, industrial, agricultural, nonprofit and municipal businesses in both regulated and unregulated energy markets. The team has worked with some of the largest commercial energy buyers throughout the U.S.
Solar power isn’t just for big corporations, however. Homeowners and residential builders are seeing the long-term value and cost savings of solar panels. Southern Current works with residential customers to select the best solar power equipment, provide on-site construction management and quality control and then handle customer service questions or issues after the project is complete.
According to Southern Current, in 2017 a new solar project was installed every 84 seconds across America, as more and more home and business owners turned to solar to help them reduce their carbon footprints and energy bills. This means a great opportunity for states like South Carolina to capitalize on new energy technologies to grow the state’s economy.
Since 2015 Southern Current has grown from 12 employees to more than 90 today. Revenue has doubled every year since 2015 and the company’s solar output has skyrocketed from 8 mw to nearly 400 mw today.
There are about 3,000 solar workers in South Carolina and several hundred companies that are working with solar – and that’s just solar,” Dohn says. “There’s other technologies that are waiting to be utilized if the market is going to compensate them for it, and if policy is friendly and the regulatory environment is conducive to them developing here.”
An upcoming business summit will focus directly on The Future of Energy in South Carolina. A panel of experts will discuss the most pressing and relevant issues in South Carolina's energy industry at an event from 8-10 a.m. on Thursday, May 24 at Trident Technical College.