The sun shines equally on all South Carolinians, but when it comes to renewable energy policy, specifically solar energy, many African American consumers have been left in the dark. Now a ray of sunshine is moving through the Statehouse, known as Senate Bill 1189 or S.1189. The bill helps South Carolina develop new sources of clean solar energy and stimulates jobs and economic growth in South Carolina.

While the cost of installing solar has declined and electricity rates have risen, solar has become an increasingly attractive investment option for homeowners.

As more and more customers put solar on their rooftops, it is important that the rules governing solar installations are fair to all utility customers.

S.1189 addresses potential inequities by ensuring that customers who generate their own electricity pay their share of the cost of maintaining the electric grid and utilities pay a fair price for solar power generated by their customers.

S.1189 empowers consumers by allowing them to lease solar panels to use at their homes. This policy, often called "no money down solar" will reduce the barriers and the cost of generating solar energy and lead to more solar facilities in the state, creating jobs and economic growth for our communities.

This bill is a win-win for our communities. Not only will we see additional sources of clean energy generation brought on line in a state with great sun, but we will protect low-income households that could see their energy prices stabilize and have the opportunity to enter the customer-generation market.

S.1189 brings together the solar development community, environmentalists, consumer advocates, civil rights advocates and utilities in securing a better economy and cleaner environment for South Carolina while ensuring fairness and equity for all South Carolinians.

Marlon Kimpson

Senator, District 42

Charleston and Dorchester Counties

Gressette Building

Columbia