Is it time to explore solar energy?

12 Nov Is it time to explore solar energy?

The first time I went to Israel in 1963, I was amazed to see that every home, apartment building and commercial businesses had solar collectors on the roofs.  At the time, the collectors were attached to hot water heaters from which the heat came from the sun and not a power plant.


When I first became Mayor and the new City Hall was under construction, I asked the City Manager to explore putting solar panels on top of the flat roofed Law Enforcement / Court building.  I also asked that he explore putting panels on downtown flat roofs to generate power for lighting the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Unfortunately the cost of the equipment (relatively new in the US) at that time was prohibitive. SCE&G was paying very little for excess power private solar generators were putting into the grid and the pay back was too long to justify what would have been a trend setting example.

Fortunately, equipment costs have dropped exponentially. The utilities are becoming a little more solar friendly and companies are aggressively marketing innovative solutions to generating renewable energy.The new City Manager has agreed to put one toe in the water in the venture outlined below. Furthermore, Beaufort County and City staff are exploring a lot projects at the Commerce Park. BK




For immediate release

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015

 Contact: Bill Prokop, City Manager,843-525-7000

 Beaufort leaders promote solar power option


 With an eye toward possibly tapping solar energy to help power municipal buildings, Beaufort joins three other South Carolina cities in encouraging residents and businesses to try solar power for energy needs.


 The Beaufort City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 10, adopted a proclamation partnering with Solarize South Carolina, a community-driven program supported by SmartPower, a non-profit organization helping South Carolinians and all Americans make smart energy choices.


 Other South Carolina cities already participating include Spartanburg, North Charleston and Columbia.

 “Our goal is to provide Beaufort residents and businesses with the knowledge to make an informed decision and the tools to go from contemplating solar to installing it,” said Jim Kubu, community outreach manager for Solarize South Carolina.


 Solarize SC is an award-winning and proven solar program that is accelerating the growth of solar in many communities across the United States. Solarize provides access to pre-screened solar installers as well as financing options to make it easy to go solar.


 “We have abundant sunshine here in the Lowcountry, so we hope this awareness campaign will get more people to try solar energy for their homes,” Beaufort City Manager Bill Prokop said. “It’s clean energy. We are reviewing our city-owned facilities to see which we might be able to convert to solar power.”


 Solarize South Carolina is a campaign to triple the amount of residential solar across South Carolina in just two years. SmartPower is the nation’s leading non-profit marketing organization for energy efficiency and clean energy.


 For participating in the program, Beaufort will earn a free residential-size solar system donated when 60 residents or businesses sign solar contracts. The five kilowatt system can be installed in a building of the City Council’s choice.


 Solarize South Carolina is a partnership between SmartPower; Dividend Solar, a national solar financing company; and local South Carolina solar installers. “Our campaigns have more than doubled the amount of residential solar within a community in just 20 weeks than those communities had seen over the previous seven years combined,” Kubu said.


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