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May Renewables LLC is planning to build a $70 million solar farm and storage facility near Cope in Orangeburg County.

The facility will have a 100 megawatt solar farm. It will include a 100 megawatt/400 megawatt battery energy storage system, Beaufort Rosemary LLC Managing Director Kevin Casey said.

“Solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems are growing significantly around the globe, in the U.S. and in South Carolina, because of their zero-greenhouse gas emissions profile and their relatively low cost in producing electricity,” Casey said.

“Utility and corporate buyers are increasingly seeking to procure electricity from solar … and more recently from energy storage facilities, to meet environmental, social and governance demands of their customers and shareholders. This facility responds to these market demands,” he said.

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The farm and storage facility will be built on land located along U.S. Highway 301, also known as Bamberg Road, approximately two miles north of Cope near Carver School Road.

The solar farm will be built on 500 acres, and the integrated battery storage facility will occupy approximately 25 acres.

Construction is expected to start in the latter half of 2025 and commercial operation will begin by the end of 2026, Casey said.

The company is not anticipating the creation of new, ongoing jobs as a result of the project. Construction and maintenance jobs will be connected to the project.

May Renewables is owned by Renewco Power Holdings LLC. Beaufort Rosemary is the project developer.

Casey said there are over 6,000 major solar facilities and over 600 major battery energy storage facilities in the U.S.

There are already some operational projects in Orangeburg County, including the 75-megawatt Orangeburg County Solar Project, LLC owned by Savion, LLC. There are also other projects in active development in Orangeburg County.

Casey said, “We also view South Carolina and Orangeburg County as great places to do business.”

Casey explained how the solar farm and storage facility process works.

“Solar photovoltaic cells generate electricity by absorbing sunlight and using that light energy to create an electrical current,” Casey explained.

“There are many cells in a single solar panel, and many panels are linked together at an inverter which converts direct current (DC) output from the solar panels into the alternating current (AC) used in our homes,” Casey continued.

“The inverters feed the aggregated electricity to a step-up transformer in an electrical substation which, in the case of the May project, will step up the voltage to the 230 kilovolt transmission line adjacent to the project and which feeds the electrical grid serving homes and businesses,” he said.

The storage facility “typically looks like a series of containers slightly smaller than a trailer on a semi-truck,” he said. “Each container sits on a foundation. They are electrically wired together and are operated through an energy management system (aka a computer).”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s website, storage refers to technologies that can capture electricity, store it as another form of energy and then release it for use when it is needed.

Storage helps solar contribute to the electricity supply even when the sun isn’t shining.

Casey said the project’s electricity will go to the transmission grids of Dominion Energy South Carolina, Santee Cooper or Central Electric and then flow to serve homes and businesses.

Orangeburg County has provided incentives for the company. The incentives are designed to reduce the property taxes the industry will have to pay.

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